Footwear made entirely with materials from recycling end-of-life tyres.
Portuguese Project Progresses Recycling
Portugal’s NextLap programme, a project between consultancy Beta-I, Valorpneu, the Portuguese EPR scheme and Europe’s largest tyre granulator Genan has seen the launch of six new projects for recycled tyre materials.
Decathlon, the sports retailer, and partners Rubberlink and Tintex, are responsible for two of these pilot projects.
NextLap is a program in which Beta-i applies its collaborative methodology, oriented to the development of pilots and new projects between companies, start-ups, and other innovation partners, to accelerate the transformation of business models, products, and services. Besides Valorpneu, Genan, Decathlon Portugal, and Infraestruturas de Portugal, construction companies like Grupo Opway and Pragosa, automotive cluster MOBINOV, recycling company Extruplás, footwear company Procalçado, and sportswear brand Houdini, are also involved in the program.
The innovators at Rubberlink created a solution of devulcanised tyre rubber that allowed Decathlon Portugal to produce a prototype shoe with a 100 per cent recycled rubber sole. According to data from Genan, in comparison with the use of virgin raw materials to produce similar products, for each ton of tyre that is recycled, less than 700kg of carbon emissions are produced.
Additionally, Tintex, using material from Genan have managed to reuse tyre powder to create the upper part of gym shoes that will also be tested by the largest retailer of sporting goods in the country.
Tintex was also responsible for the development of a solution to take advantage of the textile derived from the tyre, which will allow the reuse of a material that has few economic applications and, compared to standard raw materials made with leather, reduce the total consumption of energy and water in its production.
Infraestruturas de Portugal may, in collaboration with innovators Pavnext and partner Pragosa, look at street furniture from recycled tyres, which aims to slow down the speed of vehicles when approaching and entering businesses’ parking spaces. Together with Opway, the public company is also interested in continuing to support Runcobar in the implementation acoustic barriers made of recycled tyres on its railway lines, which will allow a 30 per cent decrease in carbon emissions compared to the production of oil-based barriers.
According to Climénia Silva, Valorpneu’s General Director; “as the entity which manages used tyres in Portugal, Valorpneu has been permanently investing in R&D and the development of new solutions for end-of-life tyre derivatives. NextLap is another push in this direction, with the added value of combining knowledge and innovation with partners from the industry and distribution, thus allowing the “ideas” to come off the paper and be materialised in real projects. We are looking forward to this project and with this proximity to the market, and at the same time, confident that we will grow with the companies that joined the NextLap programme, to diversify the applications and solutions for end-of-life tires and be at the forefront of a more sustainable and responsible future.”
José Carvalho, Director of Business Innovation at Genan, explains; “Genan is always at the forefront of the search for new solutions for the use of secondary raw materials from end-of-life tyres, manufactured in its recycling units. With great enthusiasm, the professionals in the Innovation and Technical Sales Support department discover trends, recognise needs, and respond accordingly. The objectives of the NextLap project are to bring innovators and industries together and to drive the entry of new solutions into the commercial circuits. The first objective was effectively achieved, and, with the creation of the prototypes, it will be possible to evaluate all the inherent properties to enable the transition to mass production.”