ECO-RUBBER - design study

The ECO-RUBBER project aims at implementing a process to use recycled tyres as raw material in order to obtain high quality urban furniture. More specifically, the main goal is to implement an eco-friendly tyre recycling approach to acquire recycled rubber powder with specific characteristics, and a new rubber sintering production system to place high-quality recycled-rubber urban products on the market. Several types of urban furniture are envisaged.

A design study focussed on bollards, containing two different amounts of recycled rubber powder with designed specifications: in the first case study, 89% of recycled rubber was used; in the second case study, 60% recycled rubber was mixed with virgin rubber. The resulting prototypes were assessed in two areas: safety and implications regarding the emission of greenhouse gases.

Regarding safety, Head Injury Criterion (HIC) was taken into account. It measures the likelihood of head injury caused by a 30 km/h impact. Bollards containing recycled rubber reduced by 3 to 4 times the value of this parameter in both cases, compared to those made of metal. Regarding emissions, bollards made of 89% recycled rubber release 12% less greenhouse gas emissions during their production; whereas, the incorporation of 60% recycled rubber cuts emissions by 46%. In other words, using recycled rubber as a raw material enables the production of safer and more environment-friendly bollards in comparison with traditional metal bollards.

A new market for recycled tyres can emerge if such features are considered by urban furniture manufacturers and authorities. Nevertheless, both need an easy way to communicate the advantages of the urban applications made of recycled rubber to raise the public awareness. Eco-labels, for instance, are a way to contribute to break emotional barriers and disseminate the benefits of recycled products because they display environmental features in a simple manner.

A mould adaptation has been achieved in order to integrate an EU label for urban applications made of recycled rubber. It is assumed that awareness of urban furniture made of recycled tyres will be improved with this tool, and that the reduced environmental impact of the studied bollard will be understood. The strategy for dissemination of information is complemented with the production of reports explaining other advantages of bollards made of recycled rubber, like safety improvement.

Eco-Rubber, D6.2. Eco label consecution (brochure of bollard benefits)