Since fall last year, thousands of people in Friesland, the Netherlands have been riding their bikes over asphalt made from recycled toilet paper. This unusual building material is essentially indistinguishable from regular asphalt and could potentially solve several problems at once.
The bike lane in question runs between Friesland’s provincial capital Leeuwarden and another smaller town called Stiens. This one-kilometre long tract of land has served as a testing ground for a completely new type of asphalt developed by two Dutch companies called CirTec and KNN Cellulose, which contains recycled toilet paper. While it is easy to imagine something quite off-putting, the asphalt looks totally unremarkable and consists of completely normal chemicals apart from a thickening agent called cellulose that’s derived from sewage.
Employing toilet paper to build roads actually kills several birds with one stone. For obvious reasons, used toilet paper is readily available and is usually incinerated rather than recycled. This type of treatment already costs municipalities a considerable amount of money and by repurposing waste into something useful local authorities could cut back on unnecessary spending. Furthermore, toilet paper is actually made from pretty high-quality fibres and destroying it only wastes valuable resources.
It is almost impossible for germs to survive the high temperatures used to create the asphalt, meaning that any road paved with the mixture is completely safe and clean. Besides being ecologically and economically friendly, it is also easier to transport and pave than other types of asphalt due to cellulose’s impressive binding qualities.
Aside from the bike path in Friesland the asphalt has also been used to pave a parking lot in Groningen and strengthen a dike on the island of Ameland over the past year. While it is still early days for the mixture it is possible that it could start appearing elsewhere in the Netherlands in the near future.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.