Biobased products in public spaces


Sustainability is high on the agenda of governments and municipalities. There is an constant need for opportunities and initiatives to increase the sustainability profile. Biobased materials fit well with this, because they consist of natural materials and have a low CO2 footprint. Last year two Dutch companies - Gebr. Van Kessel and Circulus, specialized in the development of circular chains, introduced a new production technique that converts two residual flows, roadside grass fiber and recycled plastic, into a biobased material.

Commissioned by the Dutch provinces, Van Kessel manages and maintains kilometres of roadside. A vast amount of cut verge grass is processed into compost; a process that releases a lot of greenhouse gases. So a new idea arose: would be possible to reuse this residual waste and make it appear again in the public space as a new product. Together with Circulus, a method has been developed to process roadside grass fibre and recycled plastic into biobased products. This material is particularly suitable for the production of, among other things, road furniture, bank protection and furnishing materials for public spaces.

Biobased products
Immediately after the introduction, the first hundreds of biobased roadside boards were placed in public spaces. A wide range of products can be produced through different molds. Reflector boards, picnic tables, lighting columns and benches now adorn the Dutch public space. There is also an increasing demand for ecological aids such as bats, bee hotels and bird houses. There are also opportunities for the construction sector.

The biobased products contain properties similar to hardwood. The use of recycled raw materials also creates a product with a low CO2 impact. In addition, the material can be reused as raw material after use. This completes the circle.
Every product has its own product requirements and therefore requires its own recipe. The ratio of roadside grass fibre and plastic in the end product is not always the same. The type of plastic can also vary. For example, a reflector should not fall over due to strong wind, but should break off if it is hit. Before production takes place, the recipe is compiled, calculated and tested extensively. The end products also differ in colour, because this also depends on the recipe.
Meanwhile, the municipality of Tiel opted for biobased roadside boards and the municipality of The Hague for biobased picnic tables. Recently, the municipality of Utrecht also decided to join. The municipality is responsible for the sports fields at SV Kampong Hockey, one of the largest hockey clubs in the world. Two hockey fields have been renovated here, which are equipped with circular biobased battle boards.

Other markets
For the time being, this biobased initiative focuses primarily on scaling up the biobased products in public spaces. According to Gebr. Van Kessel, other markets, such as materials for the construction sector, seem to have an interesting potential. In the coming years this sector faces the challenge of achieving the targets set for reducing CO2 emissions, primary raw materials and waste production.

Innovative Materials 6 2019

Circulus BV
Kornedijk 7a,
4116 CE Buren
+31 (0)647175982
   Gebr. Van Kessel BV
Kornedijk 7a,
4116 CE Buren
Postbus 710
4116 ZJ Buren
 +31(0)344 - 578 578