Envirobuild, KwaZulu-Natal’s first manufacturer of eco-friendly rubber flooring for commercial, industrial and residential use, has launched an extensive range of rubber paving tiles and bricks made from recycled truck tyres.
A joint venture between entrepreneur Jaco Snyman, carpeting and flooring giant Van Dyck and Hammarsdale-based Mathe Group, Envirobuild will produce a high quality product that is suitable for the local market and export.
Jaco Snyman, managing director of Envirobuild, says that the new products, which include 93 percent recycled materials, are a perfect fit with increasing demand for greener flooring options. Internationally, architects, interior designers and the construction industry are under pressure to meet their clients’ sustainable building requirements in order to ensure green building certifcations.
“There is very little high quality flooring of this nature produced locally so there is definitely a market for it. We are the first company to produce eco-friendly rubber flooring in KwaZulu-Natal and one of very few in South Africa,” he said.
A wide variety of flooring products, including rubber paving bricks (200mm x 100mm), Dog Bone paving bricks (200mm x 100mm), rubber paving tiles (500mm x 500mm), a twin brick pattern Tile (1000mm x 1000mm) and an interlocking tile (1012mm x 1012mm) will be manufactured at Van Dyck’s factory.
They will be available in a variety of thicknesses – from 13mm to 38mm for the paving tiles and from 20mm to 50mm for the bricks – and colours, including black, rust, green and speckled.
The main component of Envirobuild flooring is rubber crumb that is sourced from Mathe Group.
Managing director of Van Dyck, Dr Mehran Zarrebini, said the collaboration between the partners was exciting as there were significant synergies in place. Van Dyck produces rubber based acoustic cradles and underlays for commercial carpeting and sporting applications while Mathe is a well-established tyre recycler.
Minor adjustments to existing machinery at Van Dyck’s south Durban factory meant that production could begin immediately. “However, because we anticipate volumes going up both quickly and appreciably, we have invested R800 000 in additional machinery which is due to arrive within the next three months and is expected to be operational by the beginning of June. This will quadruple existing capacity,” said Zarrebini.
“This is an exciting venture for us. We are about to commission a new plant in Hammarsdale that has capacity to recycle 250 000 truck tyres. This will be an important market for our rubber crumb. It is particularly exciting venture as there are still very few secondary rubber products made from recycled rubber in South Africa,” says head of Mathe Group, Mr Vusumuzi Mathe.
South Africa is currently dealing with a major environmental challenge as it works to recycle 60 million waste truck tyres that have piled up over the years. An estimated 10 million truck tyres more are added to this each year.
Snyman added that the partnership with Van Dyck, a highly respected brand within the flooring sector, was particularly important as that company not only provided the manufacturing expertise but also enhanced the credibility of a new entrant into the market.
He said that although he had initially looked to importing environmentally friendly rubber flooring products from Canada and America, he had quickly abandoned this as the exchange rate made this unaffordable. Imports would be landed at ten times the price of locally made products.
There is a ready supply of used tyres in South Africa and Envirobuild will be able to both make and deliver mats to America more cheaply than they can produce them here, opening up significant export opportunities.
Rubber flooring is suitable for a wide range of applications. It absorbs impact and cushions falls, making it ideal for use in play areas, schools and retirement facilities. Together with increased grip, this also makes rubber flooring particularly suitable for use in gyms, dance studios and sporting facilities. It is also ideal for use around swimming pools and wet areas such as saunas and Jacuzzis.
Snyman said that rubber flooring was also suitable for industry and warehousing as it was able to withstand impacts as well as high footfall and the movement of heavy equipment such as hoists and fork lifts.
Envirobuild products are low maintenance and durable and are quick and easy to lay. Because rubber bricks are much lighter than brick or concrete paving and some products come in sheets, they can be laid more quickly and easily with the added bonus of far less breakage. This negates additional outlay to cover damaged materials.
In addition, they are easy to lift and replace should repairs to like water pipes or under floor cabling be necessary. Rubber paving is ideal for slopes where there is the risk of moving ground and the need for increased flexibility to mould to the shape of the surface.
Currently, Envirobuild is working towards receiving Green Tag certification in order to further enhance its presence in the sustainable building materials market. GreenTag is a unique, independent third party, green building and other sustainable product rating and certification program based on life cycle assessment (LCA).
This is expected to be boosted by the fact that Van Dyck is both ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001 accredited. In 2013, it became one of just a handful of companies with ISO 14064-1 accreditation due to massive reduction in greenhouse emissions.
Caption: Seated left is Jaco Snyman, Envirobuild managing director, standing Mehran Zarrebini, Van Dyck Carpets head and right Vusimuzi Mathe, Mathe Group director