Discarded tires are currently taking up so much landfill space that many landfills have banned tire dumping entirely. Rubber tires present both environmental and health hazards when discarded, releasing toxic fumes if ignited and often serving as shelters for rodents and other pests. Thankfully, there are several great ways that tire recycling can both reduce landfill waste and provide an eco-friendly alternative to commonly-used materials.
Eliminate Waste Materials
Eliminating the waste of recycled tires eliminates the clutter in landfills, the danger of the toxicity of rubber if it burns, as well as the amount of space that they take. Recycled tires are one material that displays better performance than the competitors being used in their original form. You may be using some of these recycled materials daily without even knowing it. Recycled rubber is being used in many different ways, including in landscaping materials, asphalt production, flooring and roofing materials, and as traffic safety materials.
Reusing old tires is an obvious reason to recycle. Landscapers know that rubber mulch is practically redefining the industry. Many playground designers use rubber mulch because it is durable, clean and provides a softer, safer alternative as a covering for the playground than traditional mulch which is harder, less resilient and is able to splinter. Children can play with a much greater chance of avoiding injuries if they fall. Mulch made from recycled tires acts as a deterrent to weeds and insects. Because it is heavier than other mulch materials and more resilient to damage from natural elements, rubber mulch lasts longer and looks fresh and new for a longer time.
Recycling Tires Produces Steel
Recycled tires contain up to 20% steel. When the tire is recycled, the steel that is recovered is some of the highest quality steel available, making it a valuable item in and of itself. With highly efficient cleaning systems, recycled tires can yield steel that is 97% free of contaminants.
Reduce Energy Consumption
Recycling old tires is also an excellent strategy for reducing energy consumption. Every new tire contains 22 gallons of oil. Recycled tires are proving to be a successful TDF (tire derived fuel) and TDA (tire derived aggregate). 55% of the tires that are recycled result in TDF and TDA which are being used as an additive to coal, resulting in a cleaner burning material that has a higher BTU than coal. This additive is used by civil engineers when the project requires minimal noise or extra vibration. Rubber supplies are beginning to diminish, just as rubber tire recycling efforts are increasing to meet the demand.
Crumb rubber is a fine, powdered form of rubber that is free of any steel or wire. New and innovative uses for crumb rubber are being discovered constantly. Rubber floor mats, some asphalts, roofing products and even speed bumps are some of the many products which incorporate crumb rubber. The consumer demand for this product continues to grow every day.
Obviously, it is more advantageous to recycle your tires than to simply discard of them. They are proving to be as useful in their recycled “afterlife” as they are as tires. Consider all of the benefits the next time you purchase new tires. It’s a simple, responsible, economical way to make a difference.