Project period: 2018–2018
Principal: Research Council of Norway (RCN) (290305)
Coordinating institution: NILU
How should we best dispose of our used car tires? The RubberRoad project addresses the responsible use of tires, stimulating the production of asphalt with rubber content in Norway.
Used tires represent a significant waste problem both globally and in Norway, with ca 60,000 tons of tires been discarded in our country every year. It is not allowed to dump used tires in a landfill. Instead, tires are burned for energy or recycled for their material like for use to fill artificial soccer fields. However, the waste treatment methods for used tires currently used in Norway leads to serious environmental and climate effects, including harmful emissions of micro-plastics and chemicals to water, air, and soil. Therefore, alternative more sustainable ways to dispose of our used tires need to be considered.
RubberRoad proposes to use rubber from used tires in the production of asphalt for road and bicycle ways. This recycling approach has not gained much attention in Norway despite is apparent advantages, such as noise reduction, increased durability, safer shock impact, and reduced climate and environmental impacts.
The Life Cycle Analysis carried out during this project feasibility study has demonstrated a series of environmental benefits in the use in the use of rubber in asphalt production. It has also helped identify relevant knowledge gaps related in particular to the use phase of the rubberized asphalt and its impact to noise, air and micro-plastic pollution. Better understanding of these effects would probably result in even larger environmental benefits of rubberized asphalt with respect to standard asphalt production.
However, while the tire recycling industry is generally positive to the disposal of used tires in asphalt production, additional incentives need to be put in place for the Norwegian asphalt producers to consider actively contributing to this development.