Let’s be honest: Tires make the world go round. Unless you’re a professional speed walker, your method of transportation probably involves tires of some sort.
But these tires don’t last forever. Whether it’s an irreparable flat or loss of tread, eventually tires need to be replaced. Some tires can be retreaded for a second life, but what happens to those that are due for disposal? Let’s break down the ins and outs of recycling and properly disposing of your worn out wheels.
The EPA estimates that 45 percent of all scrap tires are burned for energy, also known as tire-derived fuel (TDF). Since the average tire contains five gallons of oil, they can generate comparable energy to crude oil or coal.
More than 40 percent of TDF goes to cement kilns, but other uses include paper factories and electric companies. This means that keeping tires out of landfills affects the ground you walk on, the paper you write on and the lights in your home and office.
The trick with TDF is that tires must be shredded first, since whole tires would be too large for a furnace. Shredding recovers much of the metal in a tire, such as the rim and lead weights used for balance. The metal can be extracted and recycled, leaving crumb rubber to use as fuel.
There are ways that tires can be recycled into new products, and most of these uses take place after shredding, since there is more demand for crumb rubber than whole tires.
Crumb rubber can be used as the surface for playgrounds, because its soft padding helps prevent injuries. However, there has been recent debate over this use because of the potential toxins that tires may release, including lead and mercury.
The most important question still remains: How do you actually recycle tires? For starters, many retailers that sell tires will accept a limited number when you make a purchase. If you’re in the market for new tires, be sure to ask if recycling your old ones is an option.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: earth911.com