ERJ staff report (DS)
Hudson, Ohio -- US premium footwear manufacturer, Timberland Co. has said it is using 50 percent recycled rubber in some of its shoe soles. The rubber is not merely a filler, said a spokesman, but has been processed into a compound which is actively vulcanised into the rubber matrix.
Timberland said its range of Earth Seeker footwear will use 50 percent content derived from tyre granulate, which has been processed using the proprietary DeLink material from Malaysian company, Green Rubber. Up to now Timberland has been using 30 percent recycled content, but this latest announcement demonstrated confidence in the material and the process.
Vinod Sekhar, founder of the Green Rubber company, said, â€œthis announcement lays to rest the question of whether it works or not.â€ He added, â€œI'm very confident that as we develop this relationship, that content will go up further.â€ He expects Timberland to use the Green Rubber material in more of its range of footwear and in greater percentages. â€œWe can go up to 90 percent with no problems," he said in a phone conversation with ERJ.
'For all customers, said Sekhar, â€œthe bottom line is that this saves you money.â€ Sekhar said the selling price of his compound is around $1500/tonne, which compares favourably with virgin natural rubber. He emphasised, however that there is no loss of performance with the recycled content.
Steve Nieto, Senior Vice President Americas for Green Rubber, said: â€œUnlike other forms of reused rubber, Green Rubber's compounds retain up to 90 percent of the properties of the compound from which it was made. That means rubber manufacturers making high value materials can incorporate significant percentages of Green Rubber in their blend.â€
Green Rubber is currently manufacturing its compound from sites in Malaysia. However a US plant in Georgia is expected to be operational within the next few months.
Andrew Murray-Watson, vice president for communications at Green Rubber said, â€œThis is a huge endorsement of the company's technology. For the first time in the history of the rubber industry, you will see very significant percentages of recycled rubber compound being used in a high end application. Timberland will obviously be promoting the use of recycled rubber in their products and that gives a huge boost to our brand.â€
Separately, Green Rubber has confirmed that it has put on hold plans to launch a stock market flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Murray-Watson said, "the market crash put paid to our intentions to list in London. We are still keen to go public, but market conditions will have to significantly improve before that happens."