Post ConsumerTyres are an important waste stream generated every year in Europe and the world.
Tyre recycling has some peculiarities that distinguish it from other recycling sectors, as Recycled Tyre Materials (RTMs) are not used to produce new tyres. RTMs produce new materials: rubber, steel fibres and textile fibres, that are used in many different products and applications, from roads and road furniture to sport surfaces, from building materials to infrastructure – and many others.
That has been possible due to efforts by many SMEs around Europe, supported by the Commission through research projects and environmental policies.
Despite these efforts the market did not grow as expected but grew randomly. Some markets have expanded significantly in recent years, e.g. the sport sector, so much that it seems almost saturated. Others, like roads and public works, have not grown enough to represent a stable and reliable demand.
In Europe material recycling attained a level of 38% of tyres collected under national tyre management schemes, still low, compared to other waste streams. Ensuring an effective market for RTMs is imperative to enable an expansion of recycling, reducing the need for hazardous storing, or shipping abroad for incineration.
The tyre industry cannot contribute to increase the demand for technical reasons, and the actual outlets are not yet sufficient to absorb growing quantities, unless encouraged. The market will need a concerted stimulus - economic incentives - and greater awareness from crucial markets. Barriers and obstacles will have to be identified and overcome.
Apparently, the slowdown is the result of current situations such as:
1. Green Public Procurement has not been implemented as originally proposed by the Commission,owing to the lack of awareness among policy makers, technicians of P.A. and other stakeholder of the opportunities offered by RTMs (only 1 to 2% of this target has knowledge of RTMs uses);
2. The implementation of the Circular Economy Package requires practical initiatives and in particular joint cooper-ation between recyclers, end users, policy-makers, at local, national, European levels.Incentives from the Circular Economy Package could help to stimulate the tyre recycling sector to create new material streams and products and to expand existing markets./
‘Public Works’ could provide a vast potential markets for RTMs. There are many examples of products and applications, that provide successful, sustainable technical solutions for existing problems that could result in increased recycling, reduced CO2 emissions, energy savings and lower costs compared to alternatives produced from virgin resources.
However, today these experiences are just single and local projects, isolated operations, not coordinated actions. They have not been integrated into a larger, consolidated European Market. There are numerous individual experiences available throughout the EU that define the skills required and the best practice that has been developed in using RTMs. However, they are not catalogued or readily available to public authority technicians. While many technicians do not have direct experience in using RTMs – or sufficient support to introduce them into their designs and programmes. Thus, a crucial element of this introductory programme will be to define simple and effective guidelines based upon these available experiences, within the context of an implementation strategy.
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the use of RTMs in the Public Sector, generating in various areas of application (Roads, Rails, Urban Furniture, Building and Construction, Sports and Leisure Facilities, Public Works in general) public and stakeholders support. There are many materials, products, and applications already available that are excellent from a technical perspective, long lasting, with high performance, and less expensive than alternatives produced from virgin materials.
However, they are not used to the extent that they should be. This is due to a lack of awareness, knowledge, or technical skill by the potential user.
The project has two main objectives that contribute to implementing the EU environmental policy and legislation:
1) Disseminate best practices and experience based methodologiesfor RTMs and their applications in the Urban Environment and Public Works markets
2) Develop a cooperation platform and training in collaboration with companies and public administrations leading to implemention and development of the circular economy policy for RTMs.
RTMs (rubber, textile, steel) are high performance materials. They are used due to their technical value and the performance they bring into the specific application. From anenviroment point of view using RTMs *contributes to the CO2 reduction : it requires 40 times less than virgin materials.
Rubberised asphalt has a longer life is more resistant to weather, dynamic load and aging, more adherent and dampens road noise. Using rubberized asphalt in up to 0,1% of the annual paving works, would increase tyre recycling by 1%. in the EU, providing in exchange more sustainable, safer and quieter roads, with reduced maintenance costs and longer performance.
The Building sector already absorbe 18% of RTMs mainly for insulation and flooring but has a vast potential to use more RTMs but has high increase potential . Recent researches and uses has demonstrated that RTMs in concrete increase performance, making the concrete more resistant, more flexible, etc. The use of 10 kg. of recycled steel fibres for concrete reinformcement correspond to the emission of 1 kg of CO2 eq. compared to 21 kg of CO2 of virgin fibres.
Today RTMs has attained 38% of total year arsing in the EU. At the end of the project material recycling there will an increase up 8% while after the project the grow of recycling will continue at a rate between 3 ad 6%.
Dissemination activities will take place in major European countries. The project has a strong transnational profile with the project consortium well distributed among different EU countries, with high potential of replicability where it is possible to have the support of ETRA members and extend the methodology developed under the project.
The web application is a tool to increase awareness, and cooperation, but also to support the increase of supply from Recyclers to the P.A., directly or through other companies specialised in public works.
We are talking of a community of SMEs that wiil increase their opportunities of working together. In this way the WEB portal will generate the resources to sustain itself and to ensure continuity and performance of the project results and their transfer beyond the project lifetime.
This project will also valorise the results of several EU funded projects from the past ten years.
Green activities themselves have positive social and economic impacts as well as on job creation, as shown through many exciting examples during the 2017 Green Week event, organised by the Commission.
The project, as it has been designed, has many Socio-Economy effects:
· It implements the GPP for RTMs that have a great potential in Public Works
· It targets many P.A.s in different countries and makes available a cooperation platform to support transnationality
· It creates opportunities to uptake the EU funded research results on RTMs
· It involves mainly SME and micro companies that have the highest potential for job creation.
· The project has the potential to strengthen the local economy, benefiting both the suppliers and the P.As. at local level, by offering the valuable knowledge and experience gleaned from other regions.
· It has the potential to support the increase of material recycling and in this way contribute to reducing the uncontrolled export of post consumer tyres for burning towards countries with less stringent environmental limits. According to the data available every 32.000 Tonnes of post consumer (or +1% of annual EU arisings), diverted from export (read: sent to burning destinations) towards local companies involved in the material value chain of tyre recycling generate an increase of 150 – 200 jobs.
In addition to the increase of job opportunities in the green economy, the project has the potential to effectively generate an expansion of market opportunities for tyre recycling companies, improving the value chain for RTM materials, products and applications, and concurrently, to provide added benefits for P.A. expenditures.
It is important to note that the project has a "close to market" potential and supports the following indirect benefits :
· Technical readiness. The materials, products and applications that are included in the programme are currently available on the market, and are based upon prior research and development activities supported by the Commission, highlighting the fact that they have been rigorously implemented, reviewed and tested – within the context of the identified markets.
· Scale and output of the project. The project will gaine considerable advantage from the extensive and dynamic network of SMEs working in the tyre recycling sector and in downstream activities. These companies are well disbursed throughout the EU member states with good production capacity that provides the project with the capacity to expand production capacity.
· Quantification of environmental benefits. One tonne of RTMs used instead to virgin materials provides a CO2 reduction of between 25 and 40 times. This is a quick average value of the benefits,
but to give support to figures, a tool will be developed to measure the environmental benefits gained from each material, product and application. It will measure the evaluation of the impact of the identified RTM in its construction matrix taking account of socio-economic indicators as well as environmental KPIs.
One point often ignored in terms of the socio-economic impacts of the project is the direct effect on the quality of life of the citizens at large. Use of RTMs can lead to an improved quality of life due to quieter roads, rails and trams, as well as a reduction in vibrations, and better insulation in home and offices.
· Sustainability and project continuation. The model developed under the project is a selfperpetuating model based upon the tools created and implemented under the project. Within the project portal some sections will be designed to support project continuation, such as the inventory of the materials, products and applications, the community data base, which will continue to be available after the project has been completed.
RE-PLAN CITY LIFE project intends to create awareness on the use of RTMs in public works and promote adoption also through the development of GPP Guidelines.
It is then fundamental that, for a reason of coherence and credibility, the project itself give its contribution to the environment and to a sustainable society reducing the environmental impact caused by its activities and products is part of the aims of the project.
Internal GPP Guidelines will be prepared and adopted with the active involvement of all the ABs. The Guidelines will aim to:
· Identify and implement environmental-friendly behaviors and criteria, specifically in the procurement process of products and services:
· define a system for green procurement operation
· raise awareness among RE-PLAN CITY LIFE ABs for the use of GPP criteria and further promote and adopt their use.
The objective of the procurement mechanism is to support effectively the partners managing the project and set out the criteria that should be included when buying a product or contracting a service for any of the project’s actions.