Planning Minister welcomes 'rubber crumb' project


Planning Minister welcomes 'rubber crumb' project


TT Newsday, https://newsday.co.tt/2024/01/24/planning-minister-welcomes-rubber-crumb...

 

Minister of Planning and Development Pennelope Beckles-Robinson displays rubber crumbs during the launch of Cariri/UTT's Rubber Crumb Production Facility at UTT Campus, Gopaul Drive, Tarouba. Looking on are Professor Prakash Persad, Principal of UTT, and Keshore Lutchman, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development. - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale
Minister of Planning and Development Pennelope Beckles-Robinson displays rubber crumbs during the launch of Cariri/UTT's Rubber Crumb Production Facility at UTT Campus, Gopaul Drive, Tarouba. Looking on are Professor Prakash Persad, Principal of UTT, and Keshore Lutchman, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development. - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

PLANNING and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles-Robinson hailed the launch of a rubber crumb production facility at the University of Trinidad and Tobago's (UTT) San Fernando campus on Wednesday as a project that can have economic and environmental benefits for Trinidad and Tobago.

Rubber crumbs are recycled rubber produced from automotive and truck scrap tyres.

The project is a joint initiative between the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and UTT.

According to its website, CARIRI said the project is the continuation of one which began in 2018, aimed at undertaking a pre-feasibility assessment for the establishment of both rubber crumb and rubber asphalt manufacturing facilities using locally available raw materials, such as asphalt and rubber crumb derived from end-of-life/waste tyres.

Beckles-Robinson said, "There is a multiplicity of ways this can have spin-off effects."

On the use of rubber crumbs in road-paving, Beckles-Robinson said this has generated interest from the Works and Transport, Agriculture and Rural Development and Local Government ministries.

Cariri CEO Hans-Erich Schulz said later in the day some of the rubber crumbs will be used to pave part of a road in the Tunapuna-Piarco area. The rest will be paved with regular asphalt-mix road material.

Over the next year, both surfaces will be tested to see how they handle conditions such as weather and traffic.

 

Principal of UTT Professor Prakash Persad speaks to media during the launch of Cariri/UTT's Rubber Crumb Production Facility at UTT Campus, Gopaul Drive, Tarouba. Looking on are Minister of Planning Pennelope Beckles and CARIRI CEO Hans-Erich Schulz. - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

 

Beckles-Robinson did not comment on a question about whether rubber crumbs could be helpful in cases of a bitumen shortage. She said the test results on the road crumbs being used for paving will be shared with the Works and Transport Ministry.

From an environmental and waste management perspective, Beckles-Robinson said the project has generated interest from the Solid Waste Management Company Ltd (SWMCOL).

She added that this project will now allow people to dispense with old tyres safely and they could be used for more positive activities.

Beckles-Robinson also viewed the project as an opportunity to further advance governmment's economic diversification strategies.

She said rubber crumbs have been used successfully in other countries for paving works in sporting facilities and manufacture of products such as mats and linings.

Schulz said it is unfortunate that Trinidad and Tobago generates 1.5 million used tyres annually.

But he shared Beckles-Robinson's view that the rubber crumb facility offers a way to safely dispose of old tyres and recycle them for uses which are both environmentally friendly and economically beneficial.

While the economic model for this project is still being worked out, Schulz said there is a possibility that people could bring in their own tyres to rubber crumb facilities and be paid for doing so.

He added that many countries in Europe and Asia already use rubber crumbs in a variety of ways.

UTT president Prof Prakash Persad saw the project as being part of the university's mandate to promote research and development.