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We’ve traveled the globe searching for the best and brightest sustainability leaders and we’ve found them. In our series, you will meet the
people who are creating a healthier and happier planet for you, your business and your community. Click here to view all of our Global Leaders

Anne Koudstaal

Company/NGO Name:


Region, Country:

Utrecht, Netherlands

1. What is the mission of your company/NGO?

The mission of PlasticRoad is to create new infrastructure for everyone, with the smallest possible negative impact on our planet and natural resources. Good planets are hard to find, so we need to take care of this one!

PlasticRoad is the next generation of sustainable infrastructure. PlasticRoad offers a comprehensive solution for plastic waste, carbon emissions, flooding in urban areas and soft soil – all rolled into one sustainable, climate-adaptive structure. The lightweight, fully circular pre-fab elements are made of recycled plastic and combine a variety of functions. These functions range from water storage to room for sensors and other monitoring equipment.

Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma, the inventors of the PlasticRoad concept, have focused their efforts on making the world’s most sustainable road in hopes of helping cities, towns and villages become circular. Their PlasticRoads are climate-adaptive and low in emissions.


2. What inspired you to choose your career path?

My father was the reason that I started studying water management. He is an expert in the field of urban water and always tries to find solutions for climate adaptation in an innovative way.   


3. Personally—Why do you care about sustainability? What is your story?

I believe that the way we work, live, and think must change to ensure that the next generation, including my daughter and son, can live the same life as we and our grandparents. We have already done significant damage to our world, and we continue to see the consequences. I believe that, as a collective humanity, we are able to change this if we change our way of thinking. If we can switch to a circular way of working and focus on new products and services with zero emissions and positive impacts on our society, we can help the world instead of making the situation worse. It is because of these principles that the PlasticRoad was born.


4. What are your top 3 career accomplishments?

1. Receive support from KWS to actually develop the PlasticRoad and therefore be able to tackle real social issues.

2. With the collaboration of the right partners, the PlasticRoad team and myself we have been able to prove to the world that it is possible to create sustainable, climate-resilient and lightweight infrastructure that outperforms all traditional roads.

3. Turning the PlasticRoad project/idea into an innovative company is definitely one of my greatest achievements. The PlasticRoad company is a translation of our original idea and vision to have a large-scale impact on this planet. This is of course super cool.


5. What is the most innovative or environmentally/socially impactful project/practice your company/NGO has implemented?

The most environmentally/socially impactful project that the PlasticRoad company has implemented is the construction of the first PlasticRoad in the world. The first PlasticRoad has been implemented in the Dutch city of Zwolle. The Deventerstraatweg is the exact location for this first pilot project. This pilot was established in collaboration with two clients: the province of Overijssel and the municipality of Zwolle. Our PlasticRoad has been utilized in helping this community solve their recurring problem of flooding.


6. How have those projects positively impacted the local community and/ or your country?

Our PlasticRoad project has yielded a  reduction of more than 50% of CO2 and other emissions like fine dust and NOX. It has also significantly reduced flooding in the area and we have created 300 l/m2 of water storage.  We have also reduced the need for new materials by 75% and have given more than 1000 kg of plastic waste a second life in an application that can serve the whole community.




7. What is/are the biggest incentive(s) for businesses in your country to adopt sustainable practices?

Companies in my country are heavily motivated to address social problems and do their part in making this planet a better place for generations to come. More and more people are recognizing this transition and opting for more sustainable solutions.  These sustainable solutions are also better appreciated in tenders and by the government, which helps in their efforts of gaining support.


8. What is/are the biggest environmental or social challenge(s) facing your country today?

Countries do not struggle with social issues individually. We are all connected and need to recognize our piece in the bigger collective picture.  We all live on this incredible planet and need to address and tackle the biggest problems of the world in order to solve the biggest problems of our countries. We need to do this together.

In my opinion, the biggest environmental issues facing our world today include the significant loss of biodiversity, increased climate change (drought, extreme water nuisance), emission rates, (plastic) waste, and population population growth. These are issues that every country is facing and we need to work together to take on these issues for the future of our planet.


9. What is the most positive action your country has taken to positively impact its environment or social well-being?

The Netherlands is trying to help sustainable initiatives by giving them grants or a discount in public tenders.


10. What are your thoughts on climate change? What is your company/organization doing to help bring awareness or to help mitigate climate change?

Climate change is one of the biggest problems we face and we need to change our behavior to tackle it if we ever hope to make a difference. In the meanwhile we need to make our planet and our living environments better resistant against climate change.


11. What are the biggest challenges you have faced when pursuing or trying to promote sustainable practices/projects?

I have noticed and learned that it is very difficult to implement conceptually and completely green or circular solution. This does not fit within the traditional solutions and the normal way of working and standard processes. To implement successful green and circular solutions, we must overcome the resistance and create a new way of thinking and culture. It is very important to find people who really believe in the idea and support it. My advice is to use the positive energy to bring these ideas forward and not let negative reactions stop you. If someone offers a valid point, keep that in mind. If someone doesn’t have a valid point, just ignore it and keep pursuing your passions.



12. Please share any new projects you will be implementing in the near future.

We will be rolling out more PlasticRoads in the Netherlands.


To learn more, please visit PlasticRoad on their website and social media:

PlasticRoad Website