This week the Dutch cyclists made their way down the world’s very first bike path that has been created entirely out of discarded plastic. The initiative is aimed at bringing down the millions of tons of plastic that goes to waste every year.
The bike path located in the 1,300 years old northern town of Zwolle and is about 30 meters in length. It is the equivalent of about 500,000 plastic bottle caps. According to experts, this bike path is two to three times more durable as opposed to conventional roads. The United Nations Environment Program has said that about eight million tons of plastic including bottles, packaging, and other waste are being dumped into the ocean on an annual basis. This is causing adverse effects on marine life and making its way back into the human food chain.
The bike path’s creators Anne Koudstall and Simon Jorritsma said, ‘This first pilot is a big step towards a sustainable and future-proof road made of recycled plastic waste.’Guus Velders, a leading environmental expert, has welcomed this amazing new initiative by Dutch engineering firm KWS, pipe maker Wavin and French oil major Total, stating that it is a ‘positive step’ towards more sustainable use of materials.
On the other hand, Emma Priestland, a campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said that the solution to plastic pollution is in putting a stop to its unnecessary use in the first place. She said, ‘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.’
The Dutch government has already pledged that it will be halving the use of raw materials by 2030 and will expedite a shift towards ‘circular economy.’ A second bike path is already on its way to completion and is slated to open in the northeastern Dutch village of Giethoorn in November. We are witnessing a shift all over the world towards the circular economy – reusing products, materials, and parts while focusing on no waste or pollution and decreasing the dependency on non-renewable energy sources. What do you think of all this?