written by: Willie Scott•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 5/12/2010
Worn vehicle tires are one of the hardest wastes to dispose of, especially through landfill sites. However, tires can be recycled in places such as specialist factories all over the world where they are processed into rubber crumb and used for sports tracks, playgrounds, fenders, and crash barriers.
slide 1 of 7
Introduction to Recycling Rubber Tires
Vehicle tires are notoriously hard to dispose of, many states having banned tires from landfill sites. This is due to the associated hazards from the leaching of chemicals and elements such as zinc, heavy metals and steel wire into the landfill ground and leachate membrane.
However, this has encouraged several specialist recycling companies to investigate the recycling of rubber tires. This article will help you to learn of places where you can recycle tires across the country and throughout the world. We begin with an examination of the components of a typical vehicle tire, before moving onto look at the places where you can recycle tires and how they can be reused.
slide 2 of 7
Rubber – natural rubber is the main component that gives the tire its flexibility and durability
Chemicals – used in the mixing of the rubber process
Steel wire – bronze-coated and used in the rim air-seal and to strengthen tire sidewalls
Carbon black – mixed with the rubber to give resistance to abrasion
Polyester, nylon – used as a fabric to form the body ply
slide 3 of 7
Places to Recycle Tires
Numerous companies worldwide recycle worn vehicle tires. Some of these companies recycle the tires into rubber crumb, bagging the crumb and dispatching it to specialist companies who have facilities to process the rubber into different products. These products include pavement and road resurfacing materials, sports tracks and playground surfaces, as well as poured-in-place residential rubber flooring.
Tire Recycling Places in USA
Crumb Rubber Manufacturer (www.crmrubber.com ) is one of the biggest tire recycling companies in western California. They recycle five million scrap tires a year into rubber crumb, the majority of it being supplied to the asphalt road contractors in California.
Tire Recycling Places in UK
Crumb Rubber, (www.crumb-rubberuk.com) is a UK tire recycling company based in Plymouth who not only produce crumb rubber, but also very fine rubber powder. This is processed into polymer compounds to form various rubber moldings and durable roof tiles.
The company also produces high quality dust free rubber granules, currently being used to manufacture artificial grass for soccer playing surfaces.
Far East Tire Recycling Places
A vast majority of worn tires are still being exported to the Far East. Some of these are snow tires which are too badly worn for snow use, but still have plenty of tread for use on roads in the hotter countries where these are recycled as second hand tires.
The other worn and damaged exported tires are recycled, rubber crumb being processed and used in much the same manner as in western recycling.
Directory of Companies who Recycle Tires
The following websites contain directories for tire recycling companies in different parts of the world;
Until recently, the majority of railroad tracks were held in place by ties (sleepers) made from wood requiring regular re-coating with tar-based creosote, which is very detrimental to the nearby flora and fauna.
However, rubber composite from recycled tires is now being used to form ties that are much more shock and sound absorbent. They also have the advantage of being durable requiring no preservative coating.
Vehicle tires are commonly used as buffers or fenders being suspended from boats, piers and jetties to prevent damage.
The tires are used to form crash barriers on car and motorcycle race circuits.
Earthship is the name given to a house built using recycled rubber tires, the tires being filled with soil and laid on top of each other to form the outside walls. Once completed, wooden boards are fixed to the outside and inside walls to prevent movement and to improve the building's aesthetic appearance.
This may seem contradictory to what we have said about tires being banned from landfills, however, once the tires have been shredded, the coarse strips of rubber can be used as backfill to gas piping as a drainage aid.
Clay is normally used to cap (cover the rubbish) on a daily basis or at a landfill site closure, but shredded tires are now being used for this purpose instead.
Recycled tires can also be used to produce remolded tires from undamaged, worn tires; a cheap alternative to new tires.
In the USA, many states have banned the disposal of vehicle tires from landfill sites, as they can cause serious environmental problems. However, this prompted an investigation into other means of tire disposal such as tire recycling, leading to the formation of specialist tire recycling companies, currently adding to the places where you can recycle tires.
Worn tires can also be recycled for purposes such as producing remolded tires which can be used in different places such as racing circuits as crash barriers, and on boats or jetties as fenders to prevent damage.
slide 6 of 7
Tire Materials and Recycling Processing and Places to Recycle Tires