Rotterdam may be first city to build roads from plastic bottles

Using plastic bottles to build roads is claimed to be a greener alternative to asphalt, which is responsible for 1.6 million tons of global carbon dioxide emissions a year

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Rotterdam could be the first city to build streets with plastic bottles after the city council announced it is considering piloting a new type of road surface.

Construction firm VolkerWessels revealed plans on Friday for a road surface made entirely from recycled plastic.

The bottles are claimed to be a greener alternative to asphalt which is responsible for 1.6 million tons of global carbon dioxide emissions a year and 2 per cent of all road transport emissions.

The plastic roads could also be laid in weeks rather than months and have a life-span up to three times longer than traditional roads, it is claimed. The company also suggest that they will require less maintenance and be able to withstand greater extremes of temperature.

The bottle roads will be lighter as well as hollow making it far easier to install cable and utility pipes below the surface.

Sections of the road will be pre-made in a factory and then transported on-site, which means a shorter construction time, lower maintenance and less road works.

Senior directors at VolkerWessels have said that the project is still at a conceptual stage, but the company aims to put down the first fully recycled road within three years.

Rotterdam, who’s Climate Initiative has keenly bolstered sustainable technologies, is the first city to announce an interest in piloting the roads.

Rolf Mars, the director of VolkerWessels’ roads subdivision, KWS Infra, said in the Guardian: “Plastic offers all kinds of advantages compared to current road construction, both in laying the roads and maintenance. It’s still an idea on paper at the moment; the next stage is to build it and test it in a laboratory.”

“Rotterdam is a very innovative city and has embraced the idea. It fits very well within its sustainability policy and it has said it is keen to work on a pilot.”