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Source: Nubia Navarro (nubikini)/Pexels

The Netherlands Build Bike Paths With Recycled Toilet Paper

By Brian Spaen

Many products that we use can be given a second life instead of being thrown into the garbage. Some examples include Trash Tiki recycling discarded coffee grounds and lime husks into their drinks, while Nike picks up leftover cowhide to produce “flyleather.” This can even be achieved from excess waste in toilet paper, which could be converted into bike lanes and plastic bottles.

The Netherlands is working on a two-year project at the Geestmerambacht treatment plant to find cellulose and pull them out of the sewage. Cellulose is a reinforcement fiber that’s found in higher quality toilet paper in the region. It may also be able to protect asphalt and make roads last a bit longer. Traditionally, this cellulose is burned at the end of the treatment process.

Instead of wasting it, the treatment plant has installed an industrial sieve that collects nearly 900 pounds of cellulose every day. In order to turn it back into raw material, the substance is scrubbed clean, dried off, and it becomes a gray, usable product. This method also limits the carbon dioxide emissions used in the burning process and it costs 180 euros per ton (over $200 US) for the sludge to be transported to incinerator.