Volvo, Olympic and world champion triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, and MacRebur have together revealed a sustainable cycling route. The route has been created using recycled waste material in Leeds, ahead of the World Triathlon Series event taking place in the city on 5-6 June 2021.
Volvo and MacRebur, who a known as ‘the plastic road company’, along with Leeds City Council have resurfaced a stretch of Harrogate Road. This is one of the city’s most popular cycling routes and is designed to increase the safety of cyclists travelling to and from the city centre to the Yorkshire Dales. The project came to fruition following the 2019 Volvo Visionaries initiative, run in conjunction with the Sunday Times.
The recycled road has been created with a significantly lower environmental impact by filling in potholes along the road with 850kg of recycled plastic waste. This is the equivalent of 170,000 supermarket carrier bags.
The road surface also uses 213 tonnes of aggregate formed from slag steel, the estimated weight of around 710 end-of-life cars. The ‘recycled road’ has saved a total of 3,200kg of CO2e through the manufacturing process and the reduction of 850kg of bitumen fossil fuels from being extracted.
MacRebur’s waste plastic product benefits from longevity over conventional road surfacing methods because the plastic allows the road to be more flexible and adaptable to changing weather conditions and temperatures, meaning less cracking of the surface, and reducing the chance of potholes reappearing once applied.
Potholes are among the UK’s biggest causes of accidents and injury across the UK for both cyclists and motorists. In the past five years, 250 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured due to poor road conditions. In 2020, 1.7 million potholes were filled throughout the UK2 with a further 4,700 reported between January and March in 2021.
Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK managing director, said: “We are delighted to be involved with a project that represents a commitment to improving safety on the roads for cyclists and motorists, as well as one that showcases an ingenious sustainable solution to road maintenance.
“Volvo is re-thinking sustainability across all of our operations and cars, and is looking at our brand partnerships to make a positive impact on society and to help protect our planet.”
Alistair Brownlee, reigning Olympic champion, said: “Not only do I use these roads regularly in training but I’m also passionate about sustainability and improving the safety for cyclists out on the road. It’s great to be working with Volvo to support the growth of British triathlon and find ways to encourage safe and active lifestyles.”
Jonny Brownlee, world champion triathlete, said: “Cycling is a great way to connect with nature, whether you are competing, training or going for a leisurely ride. I’m proud to be a part of a solution that allows cyclists and motorists to follow their passions in a sustainable and safe manner, and to reduce the impact of our sport on the planet.”