1 January 2016
The casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that the only likely use of recycled tyre products in sporting venues could be in the synthetic athletic tracks. The reality is that all that appears to be just grass or sand, may well not be.
A closer inspection of some synthetic hockey or soccer pitches may reveal a sophisticated use of recycled tyre rubber granules, providing a stable, shock absorbing and durable base layer.
Given that Australia generates the equivalent of 56 million used passenger car tyres every year, the challenge of sustainably dealing with waste of this magnitude could be significantly aided by the use of recovered tyre-derived materials for beneficial uses such as specialist sports surfaces. That means that Local Government could play a major role in increasing such beneficial outcomes by specifying surfaces utilising recycled rubber crumb when delivering high-quality sports grounds.
Supporting the research and development that goes into creating such innovative products is one aspect of the work of Tyre Stewardship Australia.
Tyre Stewardship Australia is a Federal and State Government supported, ACCC approved, industry cooperative program with three key objectives; to track end-of-life tyres, educate industry and consumers and to invest in research and development of new uses for recovered tyre-derived products.
In addition to playing surfaces, the use of rubber granules, in a mix with coarse river sand, also provides stability, grip and shock absorption for equestrian dressage arenas; with the added benefit of better performance and less wash-off in heavy rains.
Added to the sporting applications is the use of recycled rubber products in children’s play areas, increasing safety and helping to maintain the quality and presentation of such facilities.
Rubber granules are also used as a supporting infill with natural turf and synthetic surfaces. Applications of this type are increasingly found on the surrounding edges of natural turf competition fields.
TSA continues to work with tyre recyclers, sporting surface providers and local government agencies to increase the specification of recycled rubber-based materials in modern, high performance, safety oriented sporting surfaces.