There are almost 300 million tires replaced every year and as you can imagine, that many tires is going to start to stack up a little over time. Years ago, less than 20 percent of tires were reused, but these days that number exceeds 80 percent and it’s rising every day.
Used tires can be used in all kinds of different ways, including as a fuel. The tires actually burn hotter than coal, so many of them are used in things such as power plants and other industrial facilities to supplement other fuels.
There are many ways to recycle tires into other products and it starts with a machine that turns the tires into tiny crumbs of rubber. These crumbs do not contain steel from the belts in the tires and can be converted into all kinds of different products. Here are some examples:
Recycled tires can end up in your landscape. Mulch for gardens and walking paths can be made from shredded rubber from tires and benches and tables made from recycled tires will hold up much longer than wood.
Schools use products made from recycled tires to reduce injuries on playgrounds. The rubber can be used in coatings over concrete surfaces or a loose layer of rubber mulch to cushion falls.
It’s kind of ironic to think about it, but your new tires might be riding on top of your old tires. Shredded tires are mixed in with asphalt applications and have helped to pave hundreds of miles of highways.
Tires are also used in the sports world. Tiny rubber crumbs are used as infill over many artificial turf fields for baseball, football and soccer. When you see black particles flying up off of player’s shoes during a game, that’s actually the rubber crumbs that has been spread down into the base of the artificial turf.
They can also be mixed in with other products and turned into coatings for track surfaces. This gives the runners traction and helps to reduce shock to the athlete's feet and legs. The recycled rubber can also be colored in many different ways, resulting in vibrant colored cushioned surfaces.
All kinds of different floor mats are made from recycled tires and can be used for areas such as dance studio floors and anti-fatigue mats in plants.
Rubber sidewalks and outdoor patio areas can be been built by using recycled tires as well.
Some companies make sandals and other types of shoes out of recycled tires, so your old tires can continue taking you down the road, even without your vehicle.