Do you have in mind those colourful tiles that can be found in many playgrounds and public areas under playing facilities such as swings and slides? Perhaps you may not know it, but the vast majority of them is made with the rubber recycled from End-of-Life Tyres.
Recycled rubber is, indeed, an excellent material for the creation of children’s playgrounds and anti-shock floorings thanks to its resistance to sudden hits without breaking, which also guarantees its long duration in time. They can be made either by putting together prefabricated mats or by in situ coating a mixture of coloured rubber granules with polyurethane resins to create a single surface. It is a choice based on good civic sense but also a legal obligation: The European regulations require the positioning of anti-shock floorings under every playground structure higher than 60 cm in terms of free fall. This European rule (EN 1177) has been developed by the technical committee CEN/TC 136 “Sports, playgrounds and other free time structures”. Within its scope, Ecopneus takes part to the works of the group “sports floorings”.
An example of this kind of successful application of recycled rubber is visible also at Festambiente, the national festival of Legambiente, which is held every year in Rispescia (Tuscany).
Tyrefield Athletics Tracks
Powder and granules of rubber recycled from ELTs are combined with polyurethane resins for the creation of Tyrefield Athletic Tracks. A mix composed of granules and resins is placed on a base layer made of asphalt or inert material. This mix creates that rough superficial layer that characterises athletics tracks, which is necessary to guarantee maximum grip during the practicing of sports activities.
The Tyrefield Athletics surfaces offer several advantages. As it is “in situ coated”, the surface is a single piece and has no joints. As such, it has no weak points. Moreover, it possesses excellent draining properties and this allows to practice sports in all weather conditions – an important characteristic for surfaces that are exposed to all weather events.
Thanks to a specific design, it is possible to obtain surfaces with specific characteristics that can be developed for every need: from a rigid surface for those athletes looking for maximum sprint, to a basic package that offers greater elasticity for the training and cooling down phases.
The rubber superficial layer can wear out after many years of use caused by the rubbing of athletes’ shoe soles. However, it can be regenerated cheaply.
Thanks to Ecopneus, a temporary athletics track was installed at the 2018 edition of Trento’s Sports Festival. The Paralympic champions, Markus Rhem and Giusy Versace, exhibited on this track on the occasion of a workshop dedicated to the importance of technology for Paralympic sports.