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Tyre Recycling - iSmithers-Rapra

Tyre Recycling - iSmithers-Rapra

This is an expert overview on the topic of tyre recycling. It summarises current practices and the factors that have contributed to their growth and efficacy as viable, economically and environmentally sound methods of dealing with post-consumer tyres. There are around 1 billion tyres produced each year across the globe. It is estimated that for every tyre sold another joins the waste stream. There are some simple options such as retreading or shipping to countries with less stringent tread requirements, but this does not solve the problem.

Tyres have been identified as a priority waste stream in the past, although they are not listed as hazardous or dangerous. This is because the bulk of post-consumer waste was being sent to landfill, stored in derelict buildings or discarded in the countryside. Now that is all changing and there are some innovative and viable alternatives. In fact, waste tyre products have many desirable properties in key application areas from thermoplastic elastomers to road surfaces.

There are four levels of tyre treatment currently in use and they generate different types of materials, from shred to microscopic particles. Whole tyres can be mechanically treated to destroy the structure. They are then particularly suitable for use in civil engineering applications such as noise barriers, reefs and embankments. This material is lightweight, free draining and compressible with low thermal conductivity. Shred and chips have similar properties and are also finding use in civil engineering, from base materials to insulation. Granulate is commonly seen on playgrounds and sports surfaces. There is also a range of powders available which have varied applications from carbon black substitutes to reclaim.

Energy recovery is considered in this report as around 25 of tyres are now used as a supplementary non-fossil fuel.

The primary area of study of this report is the EU, but reports from the US have also been cited. Dr Shulman has incorporated statistics from the EU markets, which illustrate changes in the industry since the inception of the European Tyre Recycling Association a decade ago.

Around 400 references with abstracts from recent global literature accompany this review, sourced from the Polymer Library, to facilitate further reading. A subject index and a company index are included.

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