At the ribbon cutting ceremony today at the park of Villa Parodi in Genoa, the home to several complexes of the Istituto Comprensivo Sestri (the “Villa Parodi” primary school and the “Dante Alighieri” middle school), Ecopneus and UISP (the Italian Union of Sports for All) inaugurated the first athletic track of Sestri Ponente, one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the city, which was until now devoid of facilities at which to expose young people to this sport.

The track, three 60-meter lanes, required the use of approximately 6 tonnes of rubber granules coming from the recycling of end-of-life tyres (ELT): a first layer was cast in place with black 1-3.5 mm granules, then a second layer was cast in place with 2-5 mm granules, and finally everything was completed with a coloured layer of red polyurethane resin.  The running track, the long jump pit and the bleachers were then made safe by applying rubber covers, also recycled from ELTs, to the dangerous edges.

A multipurpose field was also created in addition to the track using a prefabricated mat of recycled rubber, 5 mm thick, for a total of over 600 square meters: 5 kg of 0.8-2.5 mm granule was used for each square meter, for 3 tonnes in total.

The rubber layer guarantees the necessary shock and impact absorption, return of energy to the athlete during competition, and elasticity and resistance to the permanent deformations of the base, for high level sports performed safely.

The project was possible thanks to the collaboration between UISP and Ecopneus, which flanked the City of Genoa during the start-up phase and then for the management of the entire operation.  Ecopneus is a non-profit company that is the leading manager of end-of-life tyres in Italy: in order to promote an increasing use of recycled rubber in the sports sector, in 2012 it launched a partnership with UISP that aims to synergistically unite the efforts of Ecopneus for the development of these applications with the choices of UISP for the sustainability of the facilities of the associated sports clubs.

The collaboration between Ecopneus and UISP, in addition to a presence at many events throughout Italy for which temporary sports surfaces were realized (including the Sports Festival at the Old Port of Genoa), has also resulted in several significant redevelopment operations:

  • Medolla (MO): in the area surrounding Modena that was hit by the earthquake of 2012, the PalaMedolla facility was upgraded with the realization of a multipurpose area for basketball, volleyball and gymnastics.
  • Prato: Prato’s 2A centre is the first centre in Italy to host four fields made of recycled rubber: two are indoor, for tennis and five-a-side football, and the other two, uncovered, are dedicated instead only to tennis.

We are very satisfied with the operation that we supported in Genoa,” declared Giovanni Corbetta, the Director General of Ecopneus, “which fits well with the commitment that Ecopneus has been promoting for years to develop the end markets of rubber from ELTs.  We firmly believe in the green economy as a possibility for doing business that benefits the community”.

Our idea,” said Tommaso Bisio, of UISP Genoa, “arose about two years ago as part of the identification of small spaces for the creation of basic track and field facilities; agile structures in which to do promotion so as to introduce children to this sport, without requiring too much travel.  Above all we wanted them to be created in the middle of the neighbourhood, where people live, unlike the few existing facilities, which are often delocalised and difficult to manage”.

The following people participated:

  • Stefano BERNINI, deputy mayor of the City of Genoa
  • Pino BOERO, Councillor for Sports and Schools of the City of Genoa
  • Giuseppe SPATOLA, President of Municipality 6, Medio Ponente
  • Rosaria PAGANO, Director General of the Regional Scholastic Office for Liguria
  • Vittorio OTTONELLO, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee, Liguria
  • Giovanni CORBETTA, Director General, Ecopneus
  • Vincenzo MANCO, National President, UISP