The Life Of A Recycled Tire
Nothing lasts forever, but old tires come close. With nearly 300 million tires being discarded in the United States every year, scrap tires were once a common element of landfills. However, because scrap tires can take more than 80 years to break down in some cases, throwing them into landfills was a solution that was far less than perfect. That’s not even considering the amount of space they take up in landfills, or their tendency to damage landfill liners, cause soil and groundwater contamination, and attract rodents.
The good news, however, is that scrap tires have become far less of a problem than they used to be. In 1990, only 11 percent of scrap tires were put to other uses, whereas end-use markets consumed more than 87 percent of scrap tires in 2015. A significant number of scrap tires today are recycled into rubber mulch that is used in a variety of applications. This mulch can be used as protection on playgrounds, as a component of synthetic turf for sports fields, as a material for running tracks or as a backdrop for shooting ranges, among other applications.
Rubber mulch offers some advantages over traditional wood mulch in many of these applications because it typically lasts longer and does not blow away as easily during storms. These advantages are in addition to the biggest benefit of tire recycling, which is far fewer tires taking up space and contaminating the ground in landfills.
Although rubber mulch is essentially made up of ground-up tires, there’s more to the process than simply throwing scrap tires into a shredder. There’s a highly specialized process that transforms scrap tires into the rubber mulch that protects children from falls on playgrounds or lines stalls in horse stables. Metal sidewalls and other debris have to be removed from the tires, and the rubber needs to be processed with special chemicals to soften them after they are mulched. What’s left after the entire process is complete is an eco-friendly alternative to wood mulch that keeps people safe and keeps scrap tires out of landfills.
The infographic below takes you through the life of a recycled tire, detailing the recycling process as well as some of the key benefits of recycling tires into rubber mulch. Old tires may seem like they can last forever, but recycling scrap tires has been proven to be a great way to ensure that their long lives result in far more good than harm.
Author bio: Penny Klein, owner of Perfect Rubber Mulch, has extensive experience in the industry and understands the best product fit for her clients’ needs. She works with customers to guarantee the right amount of product is purchased, and makes certain the delivery process is best in class.