The global tire production industry has reached a total revenue of $264.0 billion. It is expected to increase up to $325.6 billion in 2026, given the demand in the market. Automobile tires are produced on a high volume, but unfortunately, they’re designed for single use only and are non-renewable. Tires don’t exactly fit the ‘reduce and recycle’ paradigm.
Many companies crush old tires of scrap cars into rubber crumbs used in kids’ playgrounds as rubber mats or reinforcing agents. These are ineffective ways of recycling tires. Other tires end up in landfills, contaminating the environment by releasing toxic gases into the air and leachate into the ground.
With all that in mind, it’s time to become more mindful of what we consume and develop new ways to manage or recycle non-renewable materials.
Here are some ways tires can be recycled in 2022:
Shredding and Grinding
The first recycling process is cutting tires into smaller pieces to reduce the size so they can be handled easily.
With the help of shredders, tires are cut down to produce tire shreds of approximately 2-inch length, over 1/4th of their original volume.
The resulting product of this recycling process is shredded rubber that is used as a raw material in different industries. These shredded tires can also be used as raw materials for new tire production.
Scrap Tire Processing
This process of tire recycling involves the grinding of tires at room temperature. Much like the shredding process, the tires aren’t cooled down before they’re ground through granulators.
This process can produce tire crumbs of varying sizes depending on the granulators.
Another process of recycling tires of junk cars is called cryogenic crushing. This process completely freezes the old tires to be recycled at over -112°F with the use of liquid nitrogen.
At this temperature, tires become as brittle as glass, so they can easily be crushed. Hammer mills then crush them into tiny particles.
Towards the end of this process, the steel and fiber are removed using magnets and an air classifier, leaving clean recycled rubber tires at the end.
The pyrolysis process of recycling is the opposite of the cryogenic recycling process. This process involves destroying tires by increasing the temperature up to 806°F. The tires melt into oil which is then used as a diesel fuel by other industries.
Molectra is another complicated tire recycling process that involves chemical treatments. The tires are sliced into smaller pieces, and then the pieces are chemically treated for a few hours. The result of this process produces 10% pure rubber.
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