The project LIFE14ENV/IT/000160"Recycling of textile fibres from end-of-life tires for production of new asphalts and plastic compounds" leads to industrial application of textile fibres reuse from the recovery of ELTs (End-of-Life Tyres).

The ETL (End Tires Life) is a waste and in current legislation can follow two different courses of treatment: recovery of materials or energy recovery

Ciclo PFU

From the ETLs recovery the following materials are obtained: elastomeric rubber granules, harmonic steel, and textile fiber mainly composed of nylon, rayon etc. The granules of rubber and harmonic steel are recycled in multiple applications. The textile fiber, which represents about 10% of the PFU (considering the weight), has not any use and ends up in landfills or incinerators.

Ciclo PFU

The Project LIFE14 ENV/IT/000160 objectives are::

  • reducing of the waste amount that currently ends up in landfills or incineration;
  • production of materials with added textile fibres by ELTs, with higher technical features;
  • commercial exploitation of the recovered textile fibres;
  • replicability of the activity and its results in the other EU countries.

The project LIFE 14 ENV/IT/000160 is the natural evolution of R&D activity supported by the POR MARCHE FESR 2007-2013, called: RTP Process - Design and development of a new product resulting from the reuse of textile fibres waste from the shredding process of ELTs.

From this research two particularly interesting applications came to light:

  • Asphalt: the textile fibres properly dosed in street asphalt gives greater resistance to fatigue; that allows extending its average life;
  • Compound: the textile fibres, combined with other plastics (eg. Polypropylene and similar materials), increase the impact strength on the compound; this materials is suitable for the production of each type of crankcase, automotive components and similar products.

objectives torna su

Textile fibres represent about 10% by weight of the end-of-life tyres (ELT) and every year, in Europe, about 320,000 tons of dirty fibrous material must be disposed as special waste. This results in negative impacts on the environment, in terms of GHG emissions and pollution, economic losses and public costs.

REFIBRE action aims to overcome the two main existing barriers limiting ELT fibre recycling, these are:

  1. the absence of useful and economically affordable applications for fibre reuse that makes it worthy of recycling, and
  2. the lacking of proper treatment technologies for recovery of clean fibres.

The ultimate goal of this project is 100% valorisation of the ELT fibre material and finally transform it into a useful secondary raw material according to a “circular economy” thinking. This can be done only through a new appropriate treatment of the fibre aimed at improving its quality and features in order to prepare it for reuse.

Therefore, the specific objectives of the REFIBRE project are:

  1. design, construction and validation of an innovative industrial pilot plant that enables ELT fibre treatment, cleaning and processing and makes the fibre recyclable and reusable;
  2. production of new materials (plastic compounds, asphalts) modified with the fibre and demonstration of their superior technical features and economic suitability compared to traditional ones;
  3. perform quantitative assessment of the environmental impact indicators by LCA and LCC aiming to prove cost/environmental effectiveness of the proposed new solutions;
  4. promote the project and its results to stakeholders through targeted dissemination and networking (also with the support of the national association for recovery PFU, Ecopneus);
  5. stimulate the stakeholders to the valorisation of the recycled fibre then following environmentally sustainable paths for material recovery in line with the EU waste legislation on ELV materials (2000/53/EC, DM 11/04/2011, D. Lgs. 152/06);
  6. pave the way for replication and transfer of the results in other EU countries;
  7. contribute to reach the target goals of the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th EAP, i.e.: maximise recycling, limit incineration or landfilling to non-recyclable materials, and reduce environmental emissions and pollution.

The aim of the project LIFE14 ENV/IT/000160 is the industrialization of production on processes of asphalt and plastic compounds with added textile fibres by ELTs, in order to enter the market as a finished product.
The actions to be implemented are the following:

  • Treatment of the textile fibres, coming out of the recovery ELTs, to make it compatible with the successive stages of processing;
  • Audits of workability and optimization of mixtures in relation to the subsequent processing;
  • Field-tests on physical / mechanical improvement of the finished product.

Ciclo PFU


REFIBRE contribute (impact only for the company)

  • Reduction :
    • 200 tons/year landfill waste
    • 1,000 tons/year waste that goes to incineration
  • GHG emission :
    • CO2 equivalent, saving about 4 Tons of CO2 equivalent for each Tonne of fibrer used
    • SO2 equivalent, saving about 10.8 Kg di SO2 equivalent for each Tonne of fibrer used
    • fine powders (PM2.5 , 5, 10), saving about 1.3 Kg of fine powders for each Tonne of fibrer used
  • Use of recycled fibres as secondary raw material
    • Production of 6,000 tons/year of plastic PP compounds (20% by weight) - sufficient to make about 400,000 bins with 240 litre volume for waste garbage collection


  • produce 400,000 tons/year of reinforced asphalt (0.3% by weight) - sufficient for the refurbishment of a 200 Km road

work schedules torna su

This section lists the key stages of the project, divided into phases carried out and steps whose output is estimated for the next three months


The project phases are already done:

  • September 2015 - Project start
  • October 2015 - obtained authorization of Strada dei Parchi to perform testing activities by drafting and test of road surface modified with fibers from ETL
  • December 2015 - Definition of product specifications
  • December 2015 - Definition of design specifications 
  • December 2015 - Creation LOGO, Information panel
  • January 2016 - Publication website
  • March 2016 - Started construction on a small scale pilot plant for processing fibre by ETL
  • June 2016 - Approval product specifications
  • May 2016 - Production of the first textile fiber samples machined
  • June 2016 - Approval design specifications
  • June 2016 - Publication restyling website
  • June 2016 - Startup plant executive design for textile fiber processing by PFU
  • July 2016: start testing in the field of fiber application for ELT in the asphalt industry and plastic compounds
  • July 2016: start-up environmental impact assessments (LCC and LCA)
  • July 2016: approval of the final design for the plant manufacturing ETL fiber
  • September 2016: Workshop at Chieti (italy) organized by Toto Costruzioni Spa in collaboration with  Strada dei Parchi and Engineers Order of the Province of Chieti on the use of the processing by ETL in the asphalt industry
  • October 2016: supplier selection (tender) and start building prototype
  • November 2016: drafting of Highway A24 and A25 of the road surface reinforced with the addition of ETL fiber to perform field tests
  • November 2016: participation in ECOMONDO - workshop "Asfalti più green, silenziosi e durevoli: i risultati delle
    recenti esperienze italiane/Asphalt greener, quieter and durable: the results of recent Italian experiences" International trade fair for recycling - Rimini ITALY
  • January 2017: completed the first part of LCA
  • February 2017: Participation Asphaltica fair in Verona (Italy)
  • April 2017: pilot plant initial testing
  • April 2017: delivery pilot plant
  • April 2017: organization Workshop (21/04/2017) - see flyer
  • April 2017: first results of reinforced asphalt behavior (in field)
  • May 2017: realization of the first products obtained from compunds with fibres
  • June 2017: inlining pilot plant
  • July 2017: organization Workshop (06/07/2017) about GPP (Green Public Procurement) in Ancona (Italy)
  • October 2017: pilot optimization start
  • October 2017: participation at “16th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium”
  • November 2017: realizations of finished products (by printing) from compounds made from textile fibers
  • December  2017: participation at “CYCLamEn - CYprus Capacity BuiLding for life” – (study tour to life projects in Italy – Ministered of Environment Rome
  • December  2017: new asphalt test on the A24 and A25 motorways
  • January 2018: check and optimization pilot plant
  • February 2018: realizations of finished products (by printing) from compounds made from textile fibers
  • April  2018: publication of the REFIBRE project on the ECOPNUES website - see website
  • May 2018: organization Workshop (10/05/2018) about "Road maintenance, use of recycled textile fibre of ETL's" in Rome (Italy) - see flyer
  • June 2018: publication on the the Italian Ministry of Environment's website of the REFIBRE Life project in the section  Life of the month
  • July 2018: organization Workshop (05/07/2018) Final event in Fermo (Italy) - see flyer


This section lists of projects that think alike

Nereide Life
The LIFE NEREiDE project aims to demonstrate the use of new porous asphalt pavements and low noise surfaces composed by recycled asphalt pavements and crumb rubber from scrap tires.

Ecotiles Life
The LIFE ECO TILES project will demonstrate the possibility to produce fully recycled (up to nearly 70%) pre-casted cement-based products (Terrazzo tiles) using recycled glass from urban and industrial waste, ceramic and Construction & Demolition Waste (CDW).
The production will have a substantial less (-20%) environmental impact than for traditional tiles and achieve the manufacture of high-grade pre-casted products. ....

BottleCO2 Life
Road surfacing with asphalt mixes requires the use of a heat source that reduces the viscosity of bitumen so that the assembly formed by aggregates and bituminous binder has adequate workability....

Drainrain Life
The goal of the LIFE DrainRain Project will be the mitigation of the environmental impact of runoff in water bodies (coastal, Surface and ground waters).

Soundless Life
LIFE-SOUNDLESS aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative noise-reducing asphalt mixes, used in SMA (Stone Mastic Asphalt)-like thin layers using waste materials, to mitigate noise pollution. .