Used tires, despite being quite notorious as a waste material, are actually not that hard to collect and recycle. You can for example, simply reuse it as raw material for road construction. Other concepts for recycling tires may even be more efficient, such as this old concept that might provide a more “flexible” tire recycling solution.
It was the year 1995, when Swedish company EcoRub first developed a new method of recycling tires. The method primarily involves mincing up used tires. It is first cut into small bits, separating the tire from its steel and fabric components. The small bits are then ground further until it turns into a powder material. Finally, the powder material is mixed with plastic along with a special chemical bonding compound to produce a new type of rubbery industrial material. This new tire-derived material, which can be easily recycled as long as it is collected properly, can now be used for a variety of different purposes such as floor covering. Today, EcoRub’s tire recycling process it’s currently patented in Europe and in the United States. According to the report, there are at least four companies in the U.S. granted with licenses to use their system, with each company producing 15,000 to 20,000 tons of the rubbery material every year. Despite the process being more advanced and quite economical compared to other recycling methods currently available, its prevalent or widespread adoption is still yet to be made. Proper financing for several startup projects is seen as the cause, particularly in certain parts of Europe.
The latest iteration of their tire recycling process takes the form of a pioneering project named as ACE. Started in 2010, it is an EU funded 3-year long project that aims to unravel the huge potentials of this recycling technology to the entire European continent.