Although some people thought they were crazy at first, a relatively new Welsh startup called Vertech Ltd. recently upcycled a whopping 50 tonnes of plastic waste into a 90 foot bridge that is durable enough to accommodate heavy-duty vehicles. Realized with help from specialized bridge designers and engineers from Rutgers and Cardiff Universities, the 100% recyclable bridge spans the Tweed River at Easter Dawyck and makes up part of the historic John Buchan Way.
The beauty of this bridge, apart from the fact that it reuses 50 tonnes of plastic waste that was otherwise slated for either local landfills or China, is that it won’t rust, it requires very little maintenance, and not a drop a paint had to be applied to it. Breaking records, the recycled thermoplastic composite bridge was built off-site and then assembled in only four days! Not only that, but the whole process of putting together a 90 foot bridge took less than 2 weeks.
We’re convinced that this new recycled material will revolutionize the future of bridge-building. Gone are the days of using crazy amounts of steel and other natural resources to create a bridge that takes years to get off the ground. Not only that, but Vertech is considering a similar sheet material that will replace other building materials such as plywood and laminates. While not as pretty as some of the natural bridges we’ve covered previously on Inhabitat, the Tweed River bridge could be the first in a slew of bridges that will save the world from suffocating from plastic waste.