What is the current state of tire recycling?
At present tire recycling consists of three main processes:
– Repurposing, such as stacking abandoned tires into highway safety barricades or for use at small, local racing circuits
– Shredding them into granulates for rubber flooring, roofing, or playground surfacing
– Burning and other thermal destruction methods, either as a method of disposal or as incineration for power generation
The tire recycling industry is very fragmented and under stress due to increasingly stringent legislation. Previously, shredded tire granules were used in children’s playground flooring but this has now been outlawed due to research into carcinogens and excessive release of sulphur gases.
The United States has imposed new laws requiring companies to publicly declare that burning tires for Tire Derived Fuel (TDF) releases hazardous toxins.
The European Union has tightened all landfill and waste incineration, imposing recycling gate fees / green taxes on corporations who produce plastic products. Additionally, there is now a European law that all imported tires must contain a minimum of 5% recycled material.
Energy produced by incineration is a workable method of electricity production but there have always been concerns over the gases released in the incineration process and these have only grown stronger over the past decade.