The waste tires we produce every year is a growing problem with far-reaching implications. Over the past few decades, we have learned a lot about the issues this hazardous material can cause for our environment. Tire recycling facilities and government-funded programs are helping find a better solution to our tire stockpiles. Keep reading to find out why these programs are so crucial to protecting our planet.
Tires naturally give off carbon dioxide
It still surprises me just how little attention tires get when we discuss recycling and our collective efforts to reduce our waste. While tire stockpiles are a common sight, few, if any, really know about the dangerous impact it can have on the environment.
For starters, tires naturally give off carbon dioxide. Hence, even if the tire is not in use, if it’s lying in your garage or sitting in a dumpster, it’s still damaging the environment.
The best way to [dispose of] a tire is to [recycle] it. It involves tearing down the tire itself and using the scrap in other products such as building materials, sports fields, and playgrounds.
Can leach metals and chemicals into the environment
Motor vehicle tires are an environmental nightmare when it comes to improper disposal. Old tires can leach metals and chemicals into the environment as they break down and can release toxic smoke into the atmosphere if burned. Additionally, burning tires are extremely difficult to extinguish.
Another environmental hazard of carelessly discarded tires is their propensity to collect stagnating water, which makes them a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease-carrying pests.
Finally, the sheer volume of discarded tires that are sent to landfills every year is staggering. So much so, in fact, that many states have implemented strict laws regarding proper disposal and recycling efforts and impose severe penalties for stockpiling and illegal dumping of used tires.
Can pose a great risk to groundwater
Any stockpiles of tires are considered hazardous because of the methane gas they slowly release, as well as other toxic materials. Also, if the tires are in contact with the soil without a barrier, it can pose a great risk to groundwater.
Contaminate any nearby water source
When considering environmental hazards, most people don’t even think about tire stockpiles. While a tire fire can release tons of harmful chemicals into the air, seep toxins into the ground below, and contaminate any nearby water source, there are other ways tire stockpiles can cause damage.
The most significant harm of tire stockpiles comes from their idleness. When tires sit undisturbed, they become reservoirs for rainwater and other particles. Over time, these tires collect mold and debris, making them an opportune location for disease-carrying insects and rodents to make their home. These pests, in turn, spread illness to neighboring human populations and put the environment at risk.
Consider disposing of tires through local programs with an emphasis on recycling, not just getting rid of waste. Many organizations or agencies use old tires to create new rubber products or creatively repurpose tires as planters or other decorations.
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