Rubber granules from used tires give rise to synthetic lawns and other pavements.
The amount of used tires collected stabilized in 2016, at 83.5 thousand tons, just over half destined for recycling, for rubber granules, transformed into synthetic turf or pavement, according to data from Valorpneu.
This entity, which is the manager of the Integrated Tire Management System (SGPU), collects end-of-life tires and the slight decline of 0.3% recorded in 2016 leads its director-general to say, in statements to the Lusa agency, that “there is a stabilization”.
According to Climénia Silva, most of the old tires collected (56%, or 47,099 tonnes) are intended for recycling and are transformed into rubber granules, a material that is mainly used for synthetic lawns, various pavements (37%) or the insulation (5.5%).
The official stressed that “all tires collected are valued” and, in addition to those that are recycled, 15% are retreaded, 1% reused and 28% used as an energy source.
The director-general explained the process followed by the tire collection and routing system, from the 49 points where this waste is received, more in the districts of Lisbon and Porto (16% and 15% of the national total, respectively).
“The destination in the waste management hierarchy that we should prioritize is retreading, given that tires through this process can safely return to circulation”, followed by recycling, according to the installed capacity of the three national recyclers and market conditions for products derived from the process.
One of the uses of rubber granules is in construction, namely on road pavements, but it can also be in buildings or urban furniture, and Climénia Silva pointed out the obstacles to commercialization due to the inertia and resistance to change by companies and professionals in the sector , but also “the poor perception of the quality of the materials”.
Last week, in an intervention at a seminar on recycled materials, which took place in Lisbon, with the participation of agents from the construction sector and companies that manufacture various types of materials from recycled raw material, the head of Valorpneu listed those problems.
He presented some examples of innovative product designs using as raw material the granulate produced from old tires, such as EcoKalçada, which replaces the traditional stone cobblestones with similar ones, but with rubber, or the protection pins to install on the streets of cities.
Among those new solutions, only EcoKalçada is being produced and commercialized, lamented the general director of Valorpneu, recalling the importance of choosing raw materials obtained from the recycling of used materials, a way to protect natural resources.
According to Climénia Silva, about 56% of the tire rubber granules produced in Portugal are exported, mostly to European countries, which “reflects the international recognition of their quality”.
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