100 percent recycled asphalt to be used for bike lanes

Bike path pic

The Netherlands has one-upped the rest of the world yet again. Previously it was with their solar powered bike path, which opened in 2014 in a suburb outside of Amsterdam. In a country where there are admittedly more bikes than people, the government’s commitment to sustainability and innovation is inspiring.

Many factors must come together to make a city (or a country) sustainable. These include energy efficient buildings, the use of solar and wind, pedestrian plazas and minimizing traffic congestion to reduce carbon emissions. Another factor is the use of recycled materials.

The use of recycled asphalt isn’t a new idea. A number of cities, including New York City, have been using recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) to replace damaged or potholed asphalt for the past few years. But Rotterdam, Netherlands, is doing something a bit different.

Florida-based Arizona Chemical – the leading producer and biorefiner of pine chemicals – has begun construction of a 100 percent recycled asphalt pavement bike lane in Rotterdam. This is the first time all three layers of pavement – the sub, base and top layers – of a bicycle road will be made this way.

Recycled Asphalt 100 percent graphic

Until now, the most recycled content has been limited to between 30 to 40 percent on a global basis. But Arizona Chemical has developed a biobased rejuvenator  – SYLVAROAD ™ RP 1000 – which regenerates used bitumen and will give the asphalt properties similar to regular asphalt.The raw material used in this process comes from crude tail oil, a by-product of the wood pulp manufacturing process of pine trees. So far, trials using the rejuvenator have been successful with up to 75 percent reclaimed asphalt in the mix, and similar results are expected with the use 100 percent recycled materials.

This project is a collaboration between the Port of Rotterdam, Rotterdam Municipality, KWS Infra and Arizona Chemical. There are many sustainability factors to this project:

  • use of 100 percent recycled asphalt means fewer materials going to landfills
  • less transportation trips mean a lower carbon footprint for the project
  • and the recycled asphalt used is from a local source so it’s being upcycled (in a sense) to a second life locally

If the materials of this bike path stand the tests of time and use, it will likely become a model for future use on a global basis. One can hope that this would be used here in the U.S. as we continue to build out more bicycle lanes. Seems like a good fit, don’t you think?

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