EFG Polymers, a resource recovery company based in Arizona, United States, announced this December an initiative to redefine what constitutes “end-of-life” (EOL) for tires and what constitutes rubber waste.

The materials incorporated in tires when removed from service retain almost all of the properties existing when the tires were manufactured, indeed it is the retention of these properties of indestructibility that create the resource recovery challenge. The current EOL processes almost universally destroy those valuable properties rather than recover the resources. EFG technologies engineer new elastomeric materials with high value applications and dramatically extend the life of the resources while eliminating waste.

The EFG SBE elastomers says it also engineers new economics that differs dramatically from historical recycling/repurposing efforts. In the current environment of shortages and supply chain disruption, the EFG SBE family of elastomers provide sustainable margins for EFG and deliver four economic values to EFG customers: 1) value in the “elastomer”, 2) value in the “anti-degradants”, 3) value in the “carbon black” and 4) value in “sustainability”.

EFG SBE products deliver good chemical and physical properties, excellent economics and significant sustainability; along with long-term pricing and reliable supply chain benefits.

Learn more about EFG Polymers’ sustainability efforts here.

EFG Polymers says the first step in redefining rubber waste is to eradicate the myths and confusion of “devulcanization”. The global rubber industry has struggled to address partial and fully vulcanized rubber arising from manufacturing processes and from the discarding of vulcanized rubber products including, but not limited to, the huge volume of tires. The vulcanization process involves much more than bonding sulfur and carbon molecules and no known “devulcanization” technology restores materials to the pre-vulcanization physical and chemical state. Reportedly, the EFG sustainability process engineers new materials that retain the many benefits of the vulcanized matrix while restoring the elastomeric properties of the polymer components in a form usable in new products and applications.

According to the company, the global demand for new polymer materials including SBR, SBS and SEBS is creating a supply crisis, as is the coming shortage of soft carbon black (Series 500, 600 and 700). These materials are largely derived from oil and not recovering these valuable resources adds unnecessary burden on our insatiable demand for oil and gas.

Recovering the polymer and the carbon black in functional form is very valuable, but vulcanized rubber compounds also contain other valuable resources: process oils, antioxidants, antiozonants and zinc oxide. EFG says many of these ingredients are valuable contributions to new applications that require the elastomeric properties but also benefit from UV protection and reinforcing properties retained in the engineering of the new EFG SBE styrene butadiene family of elastomers.

EFG joins other industry participants in the collective obligation to future generations, to end the EOL/single use mentality and recover and redeploy these valuable resources over and over again to truly achieve sustainability.

About EFG Polymers

Exploiting its proprietary technologies, EFG Polymers produces SBE (Styrene Butadiene Elastomers) that are over 85% recovered materials from post-consumer and post-industrial thermoset rubber. EFG recovers the polymeric resources and restores elastomeric properties, engineering a variety of new materials with excellent properties, consistency, and economic advantages. Their new class of elastomers provides these benefits — along with improved sustainability — to multiple market applications, including thermoset and thermoplastic rubber product manufacturing and including polymer modified asphalt for roofing and road paving applications.

Original press release by EFG Polymers.