Streets Made From Toilets: Gross or Green?
Cities are testing out some pretty crazy materials for road construction in an attempt to go green – porous asphalt, recycled roofing shingles and even plastic bottles.
Here’s one more to add to the list: The city of Bellingham, Wash. just completed a pedestrian walkway incorporating recycled porcelain from more than 400 crushed toilets that were diverted from a local landfill.
A sidewalk made from toilets may inspire an initial ick-factor, but using recycled materials helped the city save loads of cash and natural resources on their redevelopment project.
The “potty sidewalk” was part of the six-block Meador Kansas Ellis Trail Project in downtown Bellingham, which also included other sustainable elements like porous pavement and LED street lighting. The city even paved roads with asphalt containing 30 percent recycled materials.
While the idea of a sidewalk made of crushed commodes may sound groundbreaking enough, that’s not the only first here.
The project is also one of the first to pursue Greenroads™ certification and the first ever to attain it – coming away with the third-party organization’s Silver Certification award, the Greenroads Foundation announced on Wednesday.
The Greenroads™ program, which began as a research project in the University of Washington’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2007 and expanded after partnering with engineering firm CH2M Hill in 2008, is similar to the LEED program for green buildings. It uses a points rating system to assess sustainability and awards projects with Certified, Silver, Gold and Evergreen certifications.