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Whenever you have tires that just don’t have any tread left on them it’s time to get rid of them. But what happens to tires that are worn down or no longer able to be used effectively? Is there a biofriendly way to recycle them? What kinds of things can be made by recycling tires?
First of all, before I go into tire recycling, let me mention a few tips to improve the life of your tires. Make sure you rotate your tires regularly and keep them properly inflated. Keeping your car tuned up (regular oil changes, using a proven fuel additive, tuning up your brakes, etc), driving on paved roads, ensuring your car isn’t weighed down with heavy items and even car-pooling are also steps that can help improve the life of your tires.
But, when the time has come time to trade in those worn tires and get new ones, make sure you take your tires to a company that will recycle them. Recycled tires can be used for a wide variety of products and with approximately 290 million tires discarded every year, recycling them is vital.
For example, Vulcana® has a leather alternative (RubbRe™), which is made using recycled rubber from tires that were dumped in landfills. Recycled tires can be used as planters in gardens or for that all-important tire swing in the backyard. There are even companies who make tire mulch for use in gardens and playgrounds. Mats, runners and truck bed liners are also common uses for recycled tires. Another great use is as a fuel supplement for power plants, steel mills, etc.
Needless to say, there is no reason to fill up landfills with “used” tires when there are so many products that can be made by recycling tires. Additionally, biofriendly tire advances continue to be made, like the researchers at Oregon State figuring out a way to “insert cellulosic plant material into tires, thereby cutting down the amount of dirty carbon black needed to make tires“. Their cellulosic tires are not only more biofriendly, but have better traction on wet surfaces and are less affected by the heat. Sounds like a winner all around!