A paving tile made of duckweed

Dutch studio Flip the City designed a biodegradable paving tile made of duckweed to facilitate biodiversity, improve drainage and improve water quality. 

Duckweed (Lemna) are a free-floating aquatic plants. They can reproduce at a high speed, choking aquatic life if left alone as it prevents oxygen and light from entering the water. Removing duckweed increases the water quality, but what to do with the waste?

To answer this problem, the BlueCity Circular Challenge 2020 called in designers to find solutions. Flip the City came up with the winning solution, the so-called Kroostegel (Dutch for duckweed paving tile). The Kroostegel is the first product made from collected duckweed, rather than lab-produced.

The Kroostegel is a biodegradable paving tile with the same dimensions as their concrete cousin (30 x 30 x 4 cm), with the aim to replace regular paving tiles. The tiles are made by heat-pressing the duckweed into shape. In the tiles, indigenous flower- and plant seeds are integrated to improve biodiversity.

The tiles are made by people at a distance to the labour market. They can be made locally with locally harvested duckweed, making it both a local and a social product.

In addition to improving biodiversity, the tiles also improve drainage, as water gets a chance to infiltrate into the ground, and help reduce heat stress.

Photos: Flip the City