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Mexico City pilots climate-adaptive cycle path built from plastic waste

The cycle path in Chapultepec Forest offers temporary water storage and drainage features and is made from over 2,200 pounds of plastic waste, the equivalent of half a million plastic bottle caps.

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Aerial view of the PlasticRoad cycle lane in Chapultepec Forest, Mexico City
Aerial view of the PlasticRoad cycle lane in Chapultepec Forest, Mexico City

A cycle path in a section of Mexico City’s Chapultepec Forest (Bosque de Chapultepec) is being used as a pilot for the use of a prefabricated, climate-adaptive road material, made from plastic waste.

 

The installation is the result of a collaboration between the material developer PlasticRoad, the Orbia community of companies, Mexico City Mobility Secretariat (Semovi) and the Mexico City Environment Secretariat (Sedema).

 

Water challenges

 

Mexico City and its greater metropolitan area is facing potable water challenges, stemming from a growing population (more than 22 million people and rising), heavy rains caused by the compounding effects of climate change, pollution due to the generation of plastic waste and ageing infrastructure. With record annual rainfall of over 2.1 billion cubic feet, Mexico City’s water management issues have impacted drinking water availability and citizens’ quality of life.

 

The Chapultepec Forest area holds over 1,695 natural, publicly accessible acres that run through the city. In this way, the forest is the heart of the city’s progression to green mobility.

 

The modular design of Mexico City’s PlasticRoad offers temporary water storage and drainage features. It is ideal for promoting water storage during extreme rainfall and flooding conditions and is embedded with sensor technology for monitoring and surface management. By gradually infiltrating rainwater back into the ground, dry periods will also have a less negative impact on the area.

The modular, prefabricated PlasticRoad cycle lane under construction in Mexico
The modular, prefabricated PlasticRoad cycle lane under construction in Mexico
Chapultepec Forest is at the heart of the city’s progression to green mobility
Chapultepec Forest is at the heart of the city’s progression to green mobility

In addition, its durability and low-maintenance nature mean a reduced carbon footprint of up to 72 per cent over its service life as compared to traditional road structures. It is made from over 2,200 pounds of plastic waste, the equivalent of half a million plastic bottle caps.

 

“An initiative like this combines the idea of seeking sustainable mobility in the city with the idea of giving new life to plastic waste as reusable material to build new infrastructure,” said Dr Marina Robles García, secretary of Sedema. “We believe that together, we can build a better city. A city with a future, with a sustainable future.”

 

Third pilot programme

 

Eric Kievit, managing director at PlasticRoad, said that as its third pilot in Mexico, the road provides an opportunity to test the product under a different set of climate conditions and added: “Which will provide us with significant data in order to explore international markets outside our country of origin – the Netherlands – in the future.”

 

Amanco Wavin, Wavin’s regional brand and part of the Orbia community of companies, has supervised the installation of the PlasticRoad pilot bicycle path and will coordinate all routine maintenance and technical control.

 

“At Orbia, we work at the intersection of basic and advanced materials and infrastructure solutions that advance life around the world,” said Sameer Bharadwaj, CEO of Orbia.

“An initiative like this combines the idea of seeking sustainable mobility in the city with the idea of giving new life to plastic waste as reusable material to build new infrastructure”

“With the partnership of the local government, Semovi and Sedema, we are proud to inaugurate PlasticRoad in Mexico City and support this incredible global capital and its citizens on the journey to climate resilience.”

 

The Orbia companies have a collective focus on ensuring food security, reducing water scarcity, reinventing the future of cities and homes, connecting communities to data infrastructure and expanding access to health and wellness with basic and advanced materials and solutions.

 

PlasticRoad’s first pilot was launched in September 2018, encompassing a 98-foot bike path in Zwolle in the Netherlands. In November 2018, a second pilot was built in Giethoorn in the Netherlands. After more than two years of monitored use and ongoing development for industrial applications, PlasticRoad was installed at the third location in Mexico City.

 

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