On October 6th and 7th, 2011 Ecopneus was present at the BUYGREEN INTERNATIONAL FORUM in Cremona, to illustrate the economic and environmental advantages of the applications of recycled rubber from End-of-Life Tyres in the road, safety and public works sectors.

Many different topics were discussed during the workshop entitled “Asphalts modified with recycled rubber: safety meets sustainability – The applications of ELT-derived material in the road, safety and public works sectors”:

Silvano Falocco, a GPP expert, stated that, now that the minimum environmental criteria have been established, green public procurement will finally take off also in Italy, sector by sector. In the public works and road sector, much work in terms of publicizing and networking will have to be done with the public decision-making authorities. The technical data collected and the experiments conducted, together with the foreign experiences analysed, confirm the validity of asphalt modified with ELT powder, from the environmental and technical points of view, with respect to traditional asphalts, so the process can get underway.

Ines Antunes, from Asphalt Rubber Italia, presented the advantages of asphalts modified with ELT powder: recyclability, emissions no higher than traditional asphalts during laying and use, reduction in noise, greater safety in terms of adhesion and braking distances, longer life and greater resistance to adverse weather conditions. These advantages are supplemented by an energy saving, which according to their studies, is equivalent to 47% with respect to traditional road surfaces.

Irene Bartolozzi from the S. Anna High School in Pisa illustrated the results of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) made by comparing a road surface made of asphalt containing ELT powder with a traditional road surface. The construction and maintenance of the road, excluding its end of life, were considered comparing the type and quantity of materials used, their source and transportation, extraction and production processes and energy consumption.

The results show that the road surface made of modified asphalt does not increase the environmental load with respect to the traditional surface. Its durability improves its environmental performance throughout its life cycle. The use of ELT waste-derived materials makes this application even more advantageous from the environmental point of view.

Daniele Fornai from Ecopneus pointed out that the rubber obtained from the recovery of ELTs may be used for a wide range of potential applications of great value, in terms of performance and economy, as well as for the environment. The addition of rubber powder to asphalt provides a more durable surface with lower maintenance costs, considerably reducing traffic noise at the same time. The ability of the granules obtained from the recovery of ELTs to absorb shocks and their lower rigidity compared to the materials commonly used for paving roads, make their use particularly suitable for reducing the severity of collisions and impacts of all kinds. This is why they are used in the construction of barriers, road humps, traffic markers, kerbs, guardrails, and car park humps.

The R&D manager of Ecopneus also pointed out that decree no. 182, which regulates the ELT recovery system, lays down that 30% of any annual management profit should be used to clear abusive tyre landfill sites. We could combine business with pleasure, states Mr. Fornai, by eliminating the abusive tyre dumps and giving the area, in return, a resource in the form of road surfaces made of modified asphalt. Ecopneus is willing to consider any projects and proposals that move in that direction.