Netherlands switches gears with world's first used-plastic bike path
The 30-meter (100-ft) cycling path in the 1,300-year-old northern town of Zwolle contains the equivalent of 500,000 plastic bottle caps and is estimated to be two to three times more durable than traditional roads.
Eight million tonnes of plastic – bottles, packaging and other waste – are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, the United Nations Environment Programme has said.
"This first pilot is a big step towards a sustainable and future-proof road made of recycled plastic waste," the path's inventors Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma said in a statement.
Leading environmental expert Guus Velders welcomed the new initiative by Dutch engineering firm KWS, pipe maker Wavin and French oil major Total, saying it was a "positive step" towards a more circular use of materials.
"Using plastic to make bicycle paths may help to keep plastics out of landfill and ... but it's still unclear what happens to this plastic as the surface of the path is worn away," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.
Cities such as London, Amsterdam, and Paris are looking at how they can shift to a circular economy - reusing products, parts, and materials, producing no waste or pollution and using fewer new resources and energy.
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