Here at Earth911, we’ve seen boats, schools and greenhouses constructed out of plastic bottles, but now plastic bottles are being recycled into a different kind of structure in the U.S. and Europe – bridges.
Over in Peeblesshire, Scotland, British company Vertech Composites just wrapped up construction on the world’s longest bridge made out of plastic bottles and other household plastic waste, CNN reported. At 90 feet long, the bridge can support up to 44 tons of pedestrians, cars and vehicles carrying heavy goods.
The recycled composite plastic used to build the bridge has benefits beyond keeping materials out of the landfill, the company said.
Vertech CEO William Mainwaring told CNN that the material, developed by researchers at Rutgers University, has a longer lifetime than conventional construction materials like steel, timber and concrete.
“This technology creates enhanced stiffness and strength that is ideal for structures like a bridge,” he said.
The plastic bridge also won’t rust or require regular maintenance and painting, the company said in a statement.
Closer to home in York, Me., a 26-by-15-foot recycled plastic bridge is nearing completion, fabricated by New Jersey-based Axiom International that partnered with Vertech on bringing the plastic recycling technology to the U.K., The New York Times reported.
Axiom is also currently using the recycled composite plastic to make railroad ties and a boardwalk in Trinidad and Tobago.