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Recycling tires: Facts & methods of recycling

Last updated 10/15/2022 - Originally published 9/22/2020
Written by SimpleTire

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the tires after they've served their purpose and are removed from vehicles? That's a lot of tires. In addition to all of the tires on cars, trucks, CUVs, and SUVs, there are the tires on motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, heavy machinery, construction equipment and other vehicles. Even for us-a company that's been in the tire industry for over 90 years-the sheer number of tires that have been produced is mind boggling. What happens to all of these tires after they are used?

Recycling Tires Facts

In recent years, concern for the environment has worked its way to the forefront of international activism and domestic political discussion. One of the biggest issues in terms of solid waste is that of discarded tires. It would make sense then that recycling tires is also a growing concern and is one of the first and best options to deal with the fast-growing problem of tire waste. In response to the desire to recycle, many uses for discarded tires have been developed, greatly reducing their stress on the environment.

Recycling Tires Facts - Different Recycling Methods

There are many practical methods for recycling tires. The easiest is simply reusing discarded tires for another purpose. There are the obvious and classic ways to reuse tires, such as an enjoyable swing, for target practice and accuracy in a number of sports from baseball to football to archery, around the house as planters, or for modern art projects. Scrap tires are used as bumpers for boats, go carts, and many other recreational vehicles. These are simple ways that an individual or a family can put tires to use and keep them out of landfills or in piles at scrap tire yards.

In addition to simple methods of reusing tires, they can also be recycled. Through a long and involved recycling process, tires are disassembled. Then the rubber, steel, and other materials are removed, melted down, and reshaped or used for the creation of various new products. For example, this rubber is perfect for the solid tires used for a number of purposes such as casters, lawn mower wheels, and on toys.

Tire rubber is also recycled and used in the production of rubber bands, belts used in automobile engines, and as "crumb rubber" an important ingredient in asphalt. Ultimately, the tires you once had on your car, may actually be working in your engine compartment or used under you as part of the pavement you're driving on.

Another tire manufacturing method grinds the tires into fine granules. The granules are then used as mulch and as filler for things like athletic fields. Some of the today's most popular artificial turfs are actually manufactured to be a resilient synthetic grass and underneath that turf, there is a combination of materials, including the rubber from recycled tires.

More creative uses for recycling tires include tires used in the construction of energy efficient homes. Homes that are often referred to as Earthships incorporate tires that have been packed with earth and effectively used as bricks to create everything from the foundations to the walls.

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