Reduced zinc in rubber products for enhanced enviroment

Funding programme: 5th Framework Programme
Start – end year:  2001 – 2005

The Abdul Razak Research Centre Ltd, United Kingdom
Pirelli Pneumatici S.p.A. Italy
Flexsys B.V., Netherlands
Semperit Technical Products GmbH & Co, Austria
Forsheda AB, Sweden
Trelleborg Industri AB, Sweden
Synthomer Ltd, United Kingdom
Schill & Seilacher GmbH & Co, Germany
Elementis UK Limited, United Kingdom
Consorzio Milano Ricerche

The project

The primary aim of the work is to reduce the zinc content of rubber articles (currently in the EU about 100,000 tonnes of zinc in about 5M tonnes of rubber products per annum) by 50-100% through improved rubber compounding.
There is a need to reduce the zinc oxide used in rubber compounding because of increasing concern for the environment. As examples, zinc may be released to the environment in the effluent from latex processing plants, through wear of tyre treads, or during the disposal of rubber products. It had proposed that zinc oxide be classified as “very toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment”. Zinc and zinc chemicals are also included in a priority list of rubber chemicals, compiled by the Swedish Environment Protection Board, that they propose should be replaced or used restrictively.

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