New Technology to Increase Tire Recycling by 50 Percent

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Two Australian companies are working on a new three-step process for recycling tires, with the goal of a more economically-viable recycling solution that produces rubber powder for new tires and other rubber products.

Ground rubber, or “crumb” rubber, is being used to a greater extent in many states in rubberized asphalt applications and is the largest single use of recycled rubber. PhotoL Banff.ca
Ground rubber, or “crumb” rubber, is being used to a greater extent in many states in rubberized asphalt applications and is the largest single use of recycled rubber. Photo: Banff.ca

The two companies, CSIRO and VR TEK, have developed a technology that can devulcanize a tire and reclaim rubber. In the past, the bonds between rubber polymers have been strong enough to make tires difficult to melt.

One way to get around this is by shredding tires, but this requires special machinery to remove metal. Tires have metal in the rim and in lead weights to keep wheels aligned. One common reason tire recycling is considered uneconomical is the threat of metal contamination.

The new technology will separate the tire into sections based on material composition, as opposed to shredding.

CSIRO believes it will result in a 50 percent increase in tire recycling, which would be significant considering that an estimated one billion tires are disposed of annually, creating both environmental and health concerns when landfilled.

The companies have yet to release information on the other two steps in the recycling process but anticipate that Australia will eventually ban tires from landfills. Both government money and the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre are funding the project.

  • Marie Metcalf

    I recently traveled to Amarillo, Texas for a college graduation. We were driving around Amarillo and my friend showed me a large drainage area built like a cool duck pond. I think it is owned by the city of Amarillo and it is used for flood control.
    As I was looking at the area I noticed a huge amount of tires down in the water and surrounding area. My son said jokingly, there’s a tire store around here. Sure enough, when we got to the stop sign I noticed a Discount Tire Company on the street side. That should be illegal to just dump their tires in that flood control area. Not only is it an eyesore, but it is dangerous for the environment and they could be recycled.
    I was really disgusted.
    Thanks,
    Marie

  • Michael

    There is a shortage of ideas on being able to recycle tires, I have a patented solution. Feel free to contact me at the above email. More later. Please send replies as re-solutions? so I will check your email. I recieved a patent on this idea 5-18-2009. I do not have a web site, working on that too.
    As far as Earth911, I realy hope to work with you very soon! You have a wonderful web site.
    Michael V. Moses
    MVM Research and Development L.L.C.

  • http://re-solutions? Lorraine

    We have a salvage yard in upstate NY and we would definitely be interested in hearing better solutions for recycling tires.

    Please contact me.

    Thanks,

    Lorraine

  • Lee

    i am currently considering opening a tire recycling plant and am doing research on everything as we speak. that’s how i found this website. i am in need of any ideas on how to get started. whats the best process? what part of the recycling process is easiest to get started in? crumb rubber? granules? and where can i find the best machinery? if you have any input please respond at my above email

    thank you,
    Lee Moody

  • Omar

    I am intersted to opening a tire recycling solution that can handel 2.5 – 4 tons per hour inpout. i need of any ideas on how to get started. whats the best process? what part of the recycling process is easiest to get started in? crumb rubber? granules? and where can i find the best machinery?
    please respond at my above email

    Thanks
    Omar

  • http://recyclebills.squarespace.com/recycleblog/ RecycleBill

    Trey wrote: “Tires have metal in the rim and in lead weights to keep wheels aligned. ”

    Wrong: Tires have metal belts, cordage and metal beads– namely steel. The lead weights are never attached to the tire as they are attached to the metal wheels (steel or aluminum alloy) which are sometimes incorrectly called rims but are separated from the tires before recycling.

    And the lead weights are not for alignment but are designed to correct static and dynamic imbalance in rotating mass.

    Dude, I recycle all these items daily.

  • http://n/a Haris Coloman

    Michael, I’m interested in your tire recycling solution and would like to start recycling business. Please send me some details.

    Best regards
    Haris Coloman

  • http://srielastomers.com Anthony

    The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has a report called, Managing End-of-Life Tires that has some excellent information. Also check out the ETRMA reports on tire recycling.

    Regarding equipment, there are just a handful of companies that produce a complete plant. I reccomend Granutech, CM, Eldan & Pallmann. The equipment is expensive however there are also some very good consultants that can put together plants using modules from several vendors to fit your needs.

    I agree that devulcanization technology will greatly increase the number of tires that are recycle. Right now over half the world’s tires are burnt.