As a product that does not breakdown easily can provide the ideal habitat for harmful bacteria, and being highly flammable, tires have never been overly welcomed at landfills. In fact, they are supposed to be processed prior to being dumped in such places. Unfortunately, many people ignore the laws and illegally dispose of them or large mounds of tires develop. Those stockpiles, as mentioned before, carry several risks. A single state can produce tens of millions of waste tires in one year’s time.
In order to be used in an eco-friendly and responsible way, the tires must go through many steps. At the end of this process, they can be made into rubberized asphalt, which is used to pave the many roads and even driveways throughout this nation.
Collecting the Discarded There are many parties that must recognize their level of responsibility in ensuring that tires reach the facilities capable of recycling them. A major player in this is the automotive industry. Car dealerships all over the country have been charged with the task of collecting waste tires, which can then be shipped to those plants via registered haulers. In some areas, local governments further help with this task by designating a day or two each year for the pickup and removal of tires from private properties. However, everyone must take some responsibility in these efforts by making sure their used tires get into the right hands.
Preparation The process of recycling is not a single step when it comes to tires. There are a few different ways that this rubber source can be handled, but generally – and in the case of turning it into asphalt – the tires must be inspected, cleaned, debeading, shredding, and granulating. Inspection is simply the act of looking for possible contaminants that would not be desired in the final product, such as stones stuck in the tread or other types of debris that have attached to the tire. Much of this can be washed away in the cleaning phase, which must be done to get small particulates off of the rubber. The final step of the preparation is debeading, which is simply the act of removing the metal band from around the rim of the tire.
Breaking it Down Finally, it is time to process the tire. It is fed through a device that first shreds the rubber into small strips. For some purposes this is enough to prepare the tire for its new intended use. However, for the purpose of making asphalt, the rubber needs to be broken down further in a process known as granulating. This produces a substance known as crumb rubber.
The Many Potential Uses Aside from use by New Braunfels asphalt paving companies, there is also the potential to use the processed rubber for energy recovery. This involves the process of burning used tires for the production of electricity. This is not allowed everywhere, but has been put into practice in some facilities, which have proven to be responsible with the burning. A new proposed use of crumb rubber is for the production of molded rubber products, which can be used in a wide variety of industries including medical, marine, transportation, and lawn and garden. In fact, this recycled rubber is commonly seen in the production of garden mulch today.
Asphalt in the Works Referred to as rubberized asphalt concrete, or RAC, the recycled rubber is mixed with asphalt cement to create a substance that can make an ideal surface area for roads and driveways. It is considered to be a very cost effective material, has proven to be very durable, which is why it has been embraced in areas like San Marcos. Asphalt paving is now the an eco-friendly option.