The number of automobiles on the world’s roads surpassed 1 billion in 2010 and is now estimated at 1.5 billion. The worldwide automobile industry produces between 75 million and 100 million new vehicles each year and roughly 300 million to 400 million new tires.
With each car requiring new tires approximately every 20,000 to 80,000 miles, depending on the quality of the road and driving habits, tens of millions of additional tires are thrown out, usually into tire dumps like the one pictured above, each year.
With each passenger car tire representing the equivalent of 7 gallons of fossil fuel oil, the question is: what should be done with all this tire scrap?
What To Do With All These Tires/Tire Scrap?
There are now over 110 new products that use recycled tires.
Two of the fastest growing markets for recycled tires are playgrounds and sports fields. Ground up tire rubber is added to make the fields softer and are sometimes spread over the surface of fields to make them less hard. However, this use has become controversial as a number of athletes have reported breathing problems and illness.
Other new markets include shredding tires and adding them to soil as a filler, recycling tires into flooring and matting and using ground tires as landfill construction material. The following image shows a sound barrier built next to a Florida freeway which is made up of 40% recycled tires.
The following video shows a tire recycling plant in operation:
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References and additional information:
- Frequent Questions | Scrap Tires | US EPA
- Michigan DEQ awards tire recycling grants – RT – Recycling Today
- SETCO Solid Tires: Junk Yard Dog Tires