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The tires have been turned into dust for silent asphalt, sports flooring and acoustic insulation.
One million tons. The equivalent in weight of eight cruisers. This is the amount of “end of life” tyres (ELTs) collected in four years by Ecopneus, a non-profit company founded in 2011 by the six largest tyre manufacturers operating in Italy, responsible for 70% of ELTs present in Italy.
A mass of rubber that has been turned into powder for silent asphalts, ecological flooring for sporting activities and soundproofing, but has also been used to produce new energy and concrete.
Going into detail, collection and recovery data since 2011 vary from region to region depending on the number of replaced tyres: among the regions with the highest numbers are Lombardia (96,170 tons), followed by Campania (82,394 tons), Lazio (79,357 tons) and Sicilia (77,836 tons).
Since 2011, 62.5% of collected ELTs has been used to produce energy, while 37.5% has been converted into new materials such as granules, rubber dust and steel.
The recycled rubber is used in flooring for sporting activities (30%), play areas for children (13%), sound insulation for construction (5%) and low-noise asphalt (1%).
Tyre recycling has both economic and environmental advantages. Only in 2014, 105 million euros were saved on raw material imports and the atmosphere was spared 344 thousand tons of CO2. Furthermore, recycling saved 1.8 million cubic meters of water and 377 thousand tons of mineral and fossil resources.
“Our business has given a boost to legality within the system and has improved the quality of the production chain in the ELT recycling industry”, said Giovanni Corbetta, general director of Ecopneus.