A new 100-foot track in the Dutch city of Zwolle is the world’s first bike path made almost entirely out of recycled plastic, containing the equivalent of 218,000 plastic cups or 500,000 plastic bottle caps. The plastic road is the latest example of the growing shift among cities and businesses toward a circular economy, which requires reusing products and producing no waste.
The designers of the new bike path in Zwolle — Dutch engineering firm KWS, pipe maker Wavin, and French oil major Total — claim the road is two to three times more durable than traditional asphalt roads and has the potential for drastically reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. “This first pilot is a big step towards a sustainable road made of recycled plastic waste,” the path’s inventors, Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma, said in a statement.
The plastic track is a prefabricated, modular design, allowing for quick and easy installation. It is filled with sensors that will monitor the durability of the road, including tracking temperature and the number of bike trips. The path also has cavities to divert and store excess stormwater. A second plastic section of bike path will be installed in the Dutch city of Giethoorn in November.