Published Nov 6, 2013
Producing tires for passenger cars, trucks, and planes is one of the world’s major uses of oil besides acting as a fuel source. Billions of dollars worth of tires are sold worldwide each year. But with the average lifespan of tires being just a few years, you can image how many of those tires are discarded each year as well.
Tire re-use and recycling is helping to keep many of those tires out of landfills worldwide where they take up lots of unnecessary space and don’t decompose like other organic materials. Old tires can be shredded, chipped, and crumbed—by using equipment like that produced by Eco Green—so that it can be used in a variety of products and applications.
Chipped Tires Clean Up Oil Spills
Would it surprise you to know that recycled tires can help cleanup the very fuel source they’re made of? This method is fairly new but is showing to be successful both in the U.S. and in other countries where waste tire accumulation and oil spills both threaten the environment.
How it Works
So how does this process work? When an oil spill occurs in a mass of water – whether a lake, river, or ocean—cleanup crews have traditionally used different types of sorbents to help absorb the oil out of the body of water. The problem that occurs with many organic forms of sorbents is that in addition to absorbing oil, they also absorb water, which adds to their weight and causes them to sink. If not handled properly, sinking sorbents can cause more harm than good.
Recently, however, researchers discovered that chipped tires could be used as an excellent absorbent method for oil spills. Best of all, chipped tire pieces won’t sink even after oil absorption has occurred. The chipped tires can, over time, absorb up to eight times their weight in oil while still staying afloat. Even after the process has occurred and the chipped tires have been removed from the water, the oil they have absorbed can be recovered and used in other applications. The chipped tires themselves, after oil extraction, can be used as fuel or for rubberized asphalt.
Real World Examples
As you can see, oil spill cleanup with recycled tires is one of the most effective and eco-friendly methods. In countries like Nigeria, they’ve found this to be helpful for the environment and cost efficient since waste tires are readily available and excessive oil spills constantly threaten the environment and well being of nearby residents.
This is just one of the ways recycled tires are being put to use. Check out more of our blog posts here at Eco Green to discover different ways that you’re helping the environment when you decide to recycle your used tires.