Stuff that matters

paper trail

The Dutch are building bike lanes from used toilet paper.

When it comes to crazy, world-saving initiatives, the Netherlands just can’t stop won’t stop.

Here’s how the two-year pilot project works, as reported by the Guardian. A Dutch wastewater treatment plant uses an industrial sieve to sift through sewage and collect soiled toilet paper, extracting nearly 900 pounds of cellulose from the TP each day. That cellulose is then sterilized and turned into “fluffy material or pellets” that are used to make insulation or bottles — or, you know, bike lanes.

In the past, the wastewater treatment plant incinerated dirty toilet paper. Because the Dutch enjoy using fine bath tissue, that meant high-quality fibers often went to waste.

The toilet paper scheme isn’t the only way the Netherlands is using sewage for good. One company, AquaMinerals, turns wastewater into calcite pellets, which are great for water softening and producing paints and ceramics.

Next time you flush the toilet, just consider the possibilities!