Similar to many other things, tires have a life span as well. When they become old, worn out or irreparable, some people may wonder if you have to take your old tires to the landfill or if you can recycle them. So are tires recyclable? The answer is yes! Tires are able to be recycled and be used in many other applications than just on your car.
There have been more significant strides to reduce the amount of tires in landfills and their environmental impact. In this article, we’ll briefly go over how tires are recycled and what applications they can be repurposed for.
What is tire recycling?
Tire recycling has also been known as rubber recycling and refers to the process of recycling used vehicle tires that can no longer be used on vehicles. Used tires are among the most problematic sources of solid waste.
Usually this process involves the conversion of waste tires into materials that can be used to manufacture new products. The tires used in this process are called end-of-life tires and are no longer able to be functional.
Tire recycling converts these end-of-life tires into a material that can be manufactured into new products. Because tires can have a quick lifespan, there has been an influx of tires getting into landfills, tire recycling is a great way to repurpose tires and benefit the environment.
How are tires recycled?
The processing of tire recycling can follow the methods below. After tires are brought to a processing facility the following steps happen.
Steel wire removing
Inside of tires there is a special steel made of nylon and other material that is inserted in the tire for resilience. This wire needs to be removed before the tire can be recycled. This steel can be recycled and reused in other steel goods, meanwhile the rubber moves on to the next stages.
Whole tire processing
Depending on the plant and the company that works on the tires, they can be cut into 2-inch pieces and then are treated with chemicals that can turn the tires into fine powder, granules, etc. There are two way to achieve this result which are:
A specialized machine shreds the tires into pieces . The size of these pieces is regulated by another machine called a granulator.
In this method the tires are frozen with liquid nitrogen and then broken into tiny pieces by a hammer mill. If any particles of steel are still lingering around, they are removed by a huge magnet. Any other fibres are sifted out with air classifiers.
After being broken down, the screening stage ensures that no wire or other contaminants are remaining that could jeopardize the repurposing of the rubber. This stage also includes sorting the elements by size, or other characteristics depending on what the recycled tires will be used for.
Finally all derived rubber is thoroughly cleaned with water and cleaning substances. Once the tires are cleaned and sanitized, they are finally ready for packaging. The packaged rubber can then be sold to any company or organization that uses recycled rubber, powder, granules, etc. for their purposes.
How do you dispose of old tires?
After covering what tire recycling is, how the process works so now we can quickly go over how tires can be repurposed. Some options can include donating them to a sports club or a zoo, getting in touch with your inner creative and trying your hand at a craft or letting your local tire shop handle the disposal of your old tires.
They can be used in play parks, sports clubs or zoos
Some sports clubs, play parks and zoos will accept old tires and repurpose them for various purposes. For example, animals like monkeys, big cats and a multitude of other animals find tires fun interactive playthings.
Upcycling them yourself
Some savvy DIYers can upcycle tires to use in fun, creative, and craft ways. Tires have been used to create sculptures, artwork and crafts, a quick google search should be able to spark a creative interest for you. This is a better way to increase a tire’s lifespan than to regard them only as waste.
Exchanging them at your local Tire shop
More often in the industry when you service your car or tires, the tire shop you go to will help you replace your tires and perform maintenance on them (things such as rotating). If you have a full tire replacement, the shop generally will cover the cost and take care of transporting, storing, administering and contracting waste carriers for your tires.