Plastic litter along roadsides may soon be used to make new roads. A company in the Netherlands has come up with a plan to replace asphalt and concrete with recycled plastic.
The “PlasticRoad” material by KWS Infra promises two benefits for the environment — not only would it reduce plastic waste headed for landfills, it would also cut carbon emissions from the alternative oil-based asphalt.
The company says PlasticRoad should last three times as long as conventional road materials and hold up in temperatures as hot as 176 degrees or cold as -40. It would be made in prefabricated sections at a factory, hauled to the construction site and snapped together like Lego blocks.
It would also be easier to repair by simply pulling out a damaged section and replacing it with a new one — just like with building blocks.
The city of Rotterdam, Netherlands, is taking the idea seriously, planning to test it in a “street lab” demonstration sometime within the next three years to see how well the plastic road materials work.
A professor in India has also proposed building roads from recycled plastic waste, while Dutch innovators have also experimented with other road surfaces, including a bike path embedded with solar cells to generate electricity.