What is tire recycling used for

Given ever-increasing number of vehicles all over the world, it is definitely no surprise that rubber and tire recycling is among top topics in recycling industry. From crumb rubber for playgrounds in local communities and used tires children bounce on to football fields filled with artificial turf, sport yards in camps and tire derived fuel. To understand how recycled rubber finds its use in various products, it makes sense to understand how much material can be recovered and where it comes from.

Tire recycling process and why it is important

The idea of tire recycling technology is quite straightforward: as soon as tires become worn-out and cannot be safely used on vehicles anymore, they go back to a tire dealer, who passes waste tires along to large collectors or recyclers. Estimates suggest that every year people and businesses dispose of some 250 billion tires and 1/5 are thrown away illegally. Therefore, it is necessary to draw more attention to the topic and let circular economy concept function properly. In particular, it is important to know about tire collection and recycling programs. One of the most common ways to recycle tires is ambient shredding and grinding into crumb rubber.

How is rubber tires recycled into crumb rubber

  1. Shredder: the first step is to cut waste tires into 2-inch parts using a shredder. This prepares it for the breaking down process.
  2. Granulator: this is the stage where 2-inch rubber pieces are broken down into smaller parts of 3/8 inch in size and majority of fiber and steel get removed from the rubber.
  3. Magnetic Separation: the next step is to remove remaining steel by means of a magnet and to get rid of fiber through shaking screens and wind sifters.
  4. Size reduction for fine product: depending on the use of the material, some products require granules of recycled rubber to be finer and smaller. Recyclers may use a variety of machines to make material smaller and finer. This can be done to expand the scope of application of rubber powder as some industries require material of certain parameters only.

Each year, millions of tires are recycled into crumb rubber

Among all existing products of recycled tires, crumb rubber remains the most common one. Unlike whole tires used on climbing playsets and playgrounds, crumb rubber is a rather costly product which became quite widespread over the last ten years. Its applications comprise playground surfaces, artificial turf for soccer fields, sport yards, geosynthetics, road traffic equipment (e.g. rubber curbs and bumpers), etc.

Millions of tires make use civil engineering

All over the US and Europe, crumb rubber is used in civil engineering. One of the most common applications is rubberized asphalt used to create quieter roads, better drainage off the side of roads. Also, recycled tire rubber is used for dampening rail vibration, and in barriers for slide repairs.

Crumb rubber used in asphalt allows cars to have better traction on the road and prevents highways from cracks and dips. Yet another reason to use crumb rubber in asphalt is that it significantly reduces noise.

Tire-derived fuel serves as a good alternative to fossil fuels polluting atmosphere

Approximately 1/3 of tire-derived fuel (TDF) is used to fuel utility boilers. Another third goes to pulp mills and paper mills. The rest and the bulk serve as a fuel for cement kilns. Using recycled rubber as TDF in many factories in Europe and U.S. proved to be more efficient and environment-friendly than traditional fossil fuels.

Trucking industry is one of the largest consumers for tire-use

What makes a trucking company function properly? It’s tires. Obviously, trucking companies use more tires than any other industry. Indeed, combined they order more than six million tires every year.

Lakin Tire, a U.S. trucking company with vast fleet, decided to launch business of helping recycle tires they used. Now, the company offers pick-up of waste tires in U.S. to recycle them in environment-friendly way. Based in San Jose, California, Lakin serves numerous customers including tire retailers, military facilities, automotive service centers, car dealers and government institutions.

Regardless of whether a company needs to recycle tires due to their high use or it entered recycling business, knowing the how and why of tire recycling is important. All over the world, there is a high demand for the finished, refined products which come from recycled tires.

Article source: DB Squared