MILAN - It is fairly well known that we can make many uses of plastic once the main scope for which it was made has ended, think for example to water bottles or containers. But what an Italian start-up company is aiming for in Sicily could have revolutionary effects: mix old tyres and recycled plastic to produce railway sleepers.
GreenRail is the name of the start-up company from Palermo, which from 2012 deals with planning, patenting, prototyping and testing innovative and sustainable products. It created a particular type of railway sleepers (the parts of the railway track on which the rails move) by using recycled plastic and rubber powder. The internal structure of the railway sleeper is rubber powder obtained from old car tyres and externally it is covered with recycled plastic. The sleeper made with tyres and recycled plastics is the first completely eco-sustainable structure to be introduced in this sector, worldwide. Furthermore, it is safe and resistant to weather phenomena such a freezing and thawing.
The advantages of railways in recycled plastic
- The use of recycled materials in the complete respect for the environment;
- Longer lifespan of the structure over time (it has been estimated that a GreenRail sleeper can last more than 50 years);
- The improvement of air quality thanks to the reduction in the quantity of particulates, which are very damaging to the respiratory system;
- The reduction in the noise and vibrations typical of moving vehicles;
- Less need for maintenance;
- For 1 kilometre of railway line (around 1,700 sleepers), 35 tons of old tyres and 35 tons of recycled plastic are used.
by Salvatore Galeone