Written by: Monserrat Menendez, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Recycling is a valuable practice that comes with major benefits, which include sustaining the earth that we live in. We have known for now about numerous products such as paper, plastic, and waste debris that are easily recycled and can be transformed into reusable materials, but there’s one product in today's world that goes under the radar when it comes to recycling: Rubbers; specially used tires.
These used tires are quite a challenge to recycle due to their large volume, resilience, and the fact that they contain components that pose a threat to the environment and to our health. They also easily become breeding grounds for pests and insects such as mosquitoes, which are responsible for transmitting various infections. That said, tires can be recycled and there are numerous environmental reasons why you would want to recycle tires:
Conserve Landfill Space
A research report issued by FUBA indicates that approximately 11% of the waste tires are dumped into landfills, and it usually takes up to 100 years for a tire to decompose. Now, given their size and rate of usage, it’s not far-fetched to assume that the waste tires can easily fill up finite resources like landfill space.
Currently, our landfills are already overcrowded, and the scrap tires make up a huge chunk of waste in these landfills. Besides filling up our natural resources, there are also the health and environmental concerns that come with filling up the landfills with tires.
Tires have the unfortunate habit of trapping gasses such as methane in the void spaces. With time, these gases normally bubble up through the landfills, and the result is they rip the landfill liners designed for preventing contaminants from accessing the local surface and groundwater.
With tire recycling, however, it’s easier to conserve the landfill space and save the local surface from contamination. Recycling will easily eliminate the big and bulky tires, therefore leaving more space in the landfills for items that cannot be recycled.
Keeps the Tires out of Waterways and Soil
Dumps filled with scrap tires normally result in the pollution of water resources. See, as the tired decompose, they release chemicals into the soil and water that are harmful to the environment. To understand more about this problem, you’ll first need to have a rudimentary understanding of the basic components of a tire. Generally, tires contain various elements such as natural rubber, synthetic rubbers, carbon black, polymer fabrics, carbon steel, silica, fillers and more.
It’s heavy metals, like silica, poly-aromatic organic compounds, and other harmful chemicals that are usually of concern; as the tires disintegrate, some of these element’s seep into the ground, through a process known as leeching.
Now, some of these elements have carcinogenic and mutagenic properties that will normally contaminate the soil around. Even worse, these elements can equally contaminate the groundwater nearby, and if the poisoned water comes into contact with animals and humans, it can endanger their lives as well.
Prevent Air Pollution
Another key benefit of recycling tires means that the air isn’t getting polluted by burning the tires. See, it’s common to see individuals burning the tires, but this does more harm than good to the environment.
As we saw earlier, synthetic rubbers and carbon are among the major components on tires, and so, by burning them, you’re polluting the environment as it releases very toxic, and carcinogenic compounds as well as carbon associated gases into the atmosphere.
Ing. Sergio Treviño, Principal scientist at FUBA and Southwest Research Institute´s Consultant refers that to recycle these materials, there is an environmentally safer method, that it is´s unlikely to cause any air pollution. A very advance development of a new carbon neutral technology that recycles tires, achieving cero emissions to the ambient and good profits with sustainable products (low sulfur fuels, recycled carbon black and high-quality steel) avoiding current disposal costs and taxes.
There’re numerous reasons why you want to recycle the tires as opposed to using crude means of disposal. Recycling will go a long way to greenify our environment and keep us safe.
Benefits for manufacturers
Self-sustaining model through access to locally sourced, recycled materials for new tire production, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and global supply chains.
Potential production cost savings if recovered carbon black (rCB) becomes cheaper than virgin carbon black (vCB) production through design innovation and at-scale economics.
Reduced risk associated with new technologies, especially by forming partnerships and joint
Benefits for retailers
Enhanced ability to track progress against ESG goals by using tire recycler’s data on the percentage of material diverted from landfills and repurposed for beneficial reuse.
Visibility into progress against ESG commitments by leveraging sustainability work for marketing materials.
Revenue growth through disposal and recycling premiums paid by end consumers.
Benefits for tire recyclers
Diversified revenue streams through the sale of higher-value end products.
Shift in value proposition from being a low-cost, low-value-add provider to a sustainability partner that can command premium pricing.
Setting the standard for potential regulations around proper tire disposal and ELT management.
Benefits for consumers
More opportunities to support brands that align with their values.
Smaller personal carbon footprint and bigger carbon handprint.
Enhanced power to play an active role in supporting the sustainability agenda.
Act today to win tomorrow.
Sustainability in the tire industry is an evolution, and significant progress is being made. The next milestone is true circularity. It’s clear that the industry’s business model will need to evolve to keep pace with the growing importance of sustainability, but that’s just the beginning.
Business leaders now need to be asking— and answering—some vital questions: Is it more important to recycle or create genuine circularity? And do consumers even care whether that recycled material is turned back into tires or is redeployed into another sustainable application?
How can tire manufacturers accelerate their investments into these technologies? Which technologies will create a breakthrough? How should the players partner to accelerate development?
These questions—and more—are challenging executives to act decisively today to support a sustainable future that aligns with stakeholder values.
Monserrat Menendez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Experienced designer with years of inspired and professional achievements, constantly staying in touch with the latest developments of sustainable concepts. Currently working as an Interior Designer for her own brand Senom Design serving NYC and Tri-State Area, Hamptons and Connecticut involving clients towards sustainability from two perspectives: Inspiring people to more sustainable lives through their renovations and consulting companies for better practices towards sustainability from their operations and business relationship