Evonik gives scrap tyres a new life in athletic shoes

Evonik gives scrap tyres a new life in athletic shoes

Germany-based materials firm Evonik is introducing a new sustainable high-performance plastic to its eCO product line. In the production of the polyamide 12 elastomer (PEBA) Vestamid eCO E40, 50% of fossil raw materials are saved and replaced by a starting material obtained from chemical recycling of used tyres. In addition, only renewable energy is used in production, which reduces the carbon footprint by a total of 42%. Evonik will present Vestamid eCO and its other sustainable plastic materials under the motto “Next generation plastic solutions” at this year’s K trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, October 19-26, at booth B28 in hall 6.

Vestamid eCO E40, like its classically produced counterpart Vestamid E40, is a thermoplastic elastomer from the polyether block amide family. PEBA moulding compounds have been valued by well-known sporting goods manufacturers for more than 40 years and are used, for example, in sports shoe soles. The new product name eCO reinforces Evonik’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in production by using renewable or circular raw materials-in this case, raw materials from used tyres that would otherwise end up in landfills or used thermally.

This is achieved through the mass balance approach (further information: Mass Balance Approach Vestamid eCO. The method enables an immediate reduction of CO2 in existing plants and does not change the quality of the products in any way.

The new nylon is said to be, without any restrictions, an immediate alternative with improved eco-balance for the long-established conventional moulding compound for sports shoe soles with high resilience. The soles exhibit excellent low-temperature impact strength, chemical resistance and high elasticity, and are easy to colour, process and overmould. Like the moulding compounds of the Vestamid PEBA range, which have proven themselves for more than four decades, they can also be used in other demanding applications, such as in the automotive and medical technology industries.

In the mass balance method, the proportions of mixtures of fossil and renewable or circular raw materials are determined mathematically over the entire value chain during production and assigned to the products. A neutral body verifies this across all production stages and confirms the result in a certificate.