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  • Writer's pictureRubber Conversion

Ecopneus: how were over 200,000 tons of tires recycled?

What happens to tires at the end of their lifecycle? Ecopneus, which takes care of their management, through recycling and reuse, provided the numbers of the activity and destination of end-of-life tires (ELTs).

End-of-life tyres: a resource with many lives

End-of-life tires are generally shredded, after their different components have been separated, and used as an alternative fuel for industries or energy production; to produce materials such as asphalt, pavements and street furniture; reintroduced into the compounds for the production of new rubber objects or tires, reducing the use of virgin raw material. In this, the new technologies for the devulcanization of rubber make it possible to create a secondary raw material that can be used in higher percentages, even in critical components.

Material recovery almost on a par with energy recovery

In the last year of the survey, the recovery of material to produce granules, rubber and steel powder in the various application sectors reached 48% of the total of 200,000 tons of ELTs collected, almost equaling the destination towards energy recovery (52%).

This is not an exploit, but the portion destined for the recovery of material shows a constantly growing trend, to be read as the result of the consolidation of an industrial system formed by a network of 100 qualified companies throughout the national territory. The increase in sensitivity and awareness on the part of manufacturers and users is also an important driver of this growth, in addition to technological developments that allow ever more differentiated uses.

Recycled rubber: queen of sport

What are the main uses of recycled rubber?

  • recreational sports applications (55%)

  • products and compounds (24%)

  • rubber items (8%)

  • acoustic insulation for buildings (16%)

  • low-noise asphalts (1%).

The use for the creation of athletics tracks and playing fields therefore remains the prevalent application of recycled rubber, but its use as a secondary raw material used in the creation of new products is growing.

Thanks also to the push of regulations, the rubber recycling chain is being organized more and more, with the participation of more and more players.

The impact on sustainability

Beyond the recovery of a highly polluting material, the overall impact on the environment and the sustainability of the industry generated by the recycling of ELTs should not be underestimated. In just one year, the activity made it possible to

  • avoid the emission of 310 thousand tons of CO2;

  • saving over 1.23 million cubic meters of water;

  • save 79 million euros in imports of virgin material.

Overall, Ecopneus activity has generated over 52 million euros in value, of which 45 have been used to remunerate companies in the supply chain for recovery, collection, transport, and treatment operations.

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