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Europe’s first road bridge opens built entirely from recycled plastic bottles
5 years, 9 months ago Posted in: Manufacturers News 0

SOURCE: ClickGreen (UK)

10/21/2011 — A squad of sappers from the Royal Engineers has helped build the first road bridge in Europe to be made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.

The eco construction was made possible after an innovative Welsh company turned 50 tonnes of waste plastic into a record 90-foot thermoplastic road bridge suitable for heavy good vehicles.

Start-up company Vertech Limited partnered with Dawyck Estates, specialist bridge designer Cass Hayward LLP, Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, Rutgers University’s AAMIPP Department and Axion International – with support from the Welsh Assembly Government – to make the project a reality.

The bridge now spans the River Tweed at Easter Dawyck in Peeblesshire and forms part of the historic John Buchan Way. It was built off-site and assembled in just 4 days by a team from Glendinning Groundworks, a local Peeblesshire contractor, and 10 Field Squardron (Air Support), Royal Engineers.

Being made from plastic it won’t rust, requires no painting or regular maintenance and is 100% recyclable.

Vertech hope that this process can be used around Europe to make better use of plastic waste and avoid sending it to landfill or shipping it abroad.

Vertech will also be manufacturing sheet materials using the same technology for use by the European construction sector as a replacement for plywood, MDF and laminates. In doing so, Europe would be able to convert a large volume of plastic waste into high performance and sustainable building materials to help meets its environmental targets..

William Mainwaring, co-founder and CEO of Vertech Limited said, “We shouldn’t be sending so much of the UK’s waste plastic to landfill nor should we be shipping it to China. With this unique technology we can now recycle it ourselves to produce increasingly sought after high quality and sustainable construction materials for the European market.”

Professor Robert Lark Deputy Director Cardiff University School of Engineering, added: “This had been a unique opportunity to contribute to the development and assessment of a truly sustainable construction material. This initiative has the potential to deliver durable, low maintenance alternatives to traditional structures manufactured from recycled waste, the benefits of which should be far reaching both economically, socially and environmentally.”

Professor Tom Nosker, R&D 100 Award winner and Professor at Rutgers University, said, “I have appreciated the opportunity to work on this recycled thermoplastic composite bridge very much, and appreciate the trust and confidence that has been extended by all involved to attempt this, which is probably considered by most as crazy.

“This bridge is the most beautiful I have worked on, and it went up in less than 2 weeks, which has to be some kind of a record for a 90 foot road bridge.”

Vertech now want to demonstrate the significant engineering properties of its recycled materials for use in the European construction sector – particularly as a replacement for less environmentally sound engineered timber and laminated products.

In 2012 the company plan to open a manufacturing facility next year, in North Wales – to manufacture its thermoplastic composite materials for the European Market.

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