The 90-foot Thermoplastic bridge, which is suitable for heavy goods vehicles, is made up of 50 tonnes of waste plastic and spans the River Tweed at Easter Dawyck in Peeblesshire, which forms part of the historic John Buchan Way.

It was built off-site and assembled in just four days by a team from Glendinning Groundworks and 10 Field Squadron Royal Engineers. Being made from plastic, it requires no painting or regular maintenance.

The project was headed up by start-up company Vertech who partnered with a number of stakeholders including specialist bridge designer Cass Hayward LLP, Cardiff University’s School of Engineering and Axion International. It also received support from the Welsh Assembly.

Vertech hopes the process can be used around Europe to make better use of waste plastic. The company’s co-founder and CEO, William Mainwaring, said: “With this unique technology we can now recycle it ourselves to produce increasingly sought after high quality and sustainable construction materials for the European market.”

Vertech is also looking to demonstrate the significant engineering properties of its recycled materials for use in the European construction sector – particularly as a replacement for less environmentally sound engineered timber and laminated products.

Next year, the company plans to open a manufacturing facility in North Wales to manufacture its thermoplastic composite materials for the European market.

Maxine Perella

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