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Recycling Projects: what happens to the waste rubber?


Did you ever ask yourself? In case here is the answer from La Sportiva.

Ziano di Fiemme, December 2013: One of the most common questions that is asked during visits to the manufacturing facility of La Sportiva Ziano di Fiemme (TN) is: "what happens to the waste resulting from the manufacturing process?" In fact, a small percentage of waste material deriving from the manually controlled cutting benches, can no longer be used in the production process and therefore represents the most significant waste product. Rubber is a complex material, obtained chemically from substances called elastomers mixed together to obtain different degrees of elasticity, hardness and grip: such complexity does not facilitate the disposal of the material in the standard production process and also requires the use of waste in production cycles of other products and sectors for which these remnants can provide a valuable raw material. La Sportiva situated at the foothill of the Dolomites in the fascinating environment of the Val di Fiemme, produces over 220,000 shoes per year: the company’s location brings with it a call for social and environmental responsibility strongly sustained by the Delladio family, founders and owners of the company since 1928, when artisan production methods were much less sophisticated than today and waste material could not be used for any other work other than the production cycle of the shoe. However, in modern times, although there is no rapid or simple ways to re-use the waste rubber, deriving from external suppliers in the form of sheets of raw material of different thicknesses which are then cut and shaped according to the footwear manufacturing process, the company has set up recycling systems that enable the re- use of approximately 50% of waste material in other production processes. A good example of recent re-use of scrap rubber, resulting not only from the production process but also from products now at the end of their life cycle, is the flooring industry: in particular in the manufacturing of anti-shock and high-impact absorption surfaces, where rubber is the core ingredient which is then processed chemically to obtain finished products. The opportunity to re-use waste material derives from a close collaboration with Prisms SRL Monteprandone (Ascoli Piceno), a company specializing in pulverization of rubber deriving from technical waste. The company in addition to producing this service, is also able to provide traceability of the material supplied and thus identify in which finished products the rubber has been re-used. So here is the answer to the initial question about waste rubber: thanks to the collaboration with Prisms Srl, most of the material has been recuperated and re-used to produce the flooring for the new playground of the Alassio (Savona elementary school and the artificial turf surface for the “La Meridiana” sports complex in Catania. A contribution, in terms of waste / raw material which has proved to be of great use for the realization of products aimed for use in the social and sporting sector, further underlining how the ISO 14001 environmental certification obtained by La Sportiva in 2003 is able to produce tangible results in the field of recycling. A responsible approach towards the environment is first and foremost a commitment that constantly drives a company to continue in its search for new and advanced, sustainable production processes. Today,” innovate with passion”, La Sportiva’s company pay-off, means this too.