Looking at Recycling with Rubber Buffings and Crumb Rubber

In honor of Earth Day, Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) presented a week-long series exploring the various environmental benefits of retreading from resource extraction, manufacturing, and usage. In one segment TRIB looked at a few of the ways the retread industry uses recycling to add to its environmental credentials.

Part of the retreading process involves buffing off the old tread of the casing so a new tread can be applied or molded onto the casing. About twelve and a half pounds of rubber is buffed off each commercial truck tire during the retreading process. In the US, that means about 89,000 tons of rubber is buffed from truck tires every year.

Waste Tyre Recycling

These buffings are carefully collected through vacuum and storage systems. Retreaders partner with tire recycling companies to collect these buffings and then turn them into products many of us use or see everyday.

The unique qualities and size of buffed rubber provide great cushioning and durability. Many of these buffings are used in the manufacture of rubber playground surfaces and rubber mats or flooring you see in gyms around the world.

Once a tire has finally finished its life on the road, many of these same recyclers will take the finished tires and break them down further, extracting steel and then turning the tire into various grades of crumb rubber. This crumb rubber is then used in primarily three ways: as tire derived fuel in cement kilns, pulp and paper manufacturing, and industrial boilers; for ground rubber products such as turf fields and rubber mulch, and; civil engineering projects. In the US in 2017, over 208 million end-of-life tires were recycled, representing over 3.4 million tons of tires, according to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association.

© Scrap Tire News, May 2019