Tyre recycling v/s burning: Which is more environmental friendly?

The thought of tyres usually come when we’re thinking about cars, trucks or any other transportation medium. Ever thought what happens to a particular truck tyre when it has served its life!

In many developed countries, tyres at the end of their life must be transported to the waste facility as required by law. Fail to abide by the regulations may result in harsh penalties and fines levied on the perpetrator by tyre retailer, traders and transporter’s guild.

The reason for this strict practice is due to millions of tyres that are recognised as waste each year are associated to health and environmental risk with unsafe disposal of the rubber. The compound includes toxic chemicals, fire risk that emit harmful toxins in the atmosphere, illegal dumping sites that eventually become a breeding ground for pests and rodents.

So what can be considered when it comes to tyre waste management? Generally, when truck tyres or those on any vehicle aren’t roadworthy, they’re used for three purposes namely; landfill, recycle or burned for fuel. Let’s have a look at all three options and compare which is more environmental friendly!

Landfill

Perhaps the least desired option of all! Landfill is referred to as dumping junk and waste to a particular site, in this instance, tyres. It takes valuable space while releasing harmful chemicals in the environment. Long-term effects pertinent to landfill haven’t been observed so far but theoretical conclusion is that tyres can destabilise landfill.

On the contrary, incorrect handling would eventually take up more space resulting in a mound of waste tyres raising serious health and environmental concerns. If not dealt with properly, landfill may trigger fire in extreme heat releasing toxic chemicals in the atmosphere.

Recycle

When tyres are recycled, energy consumption and pollution is lower hence it’s considered one of the most environment friendly option and best treatment for waste tyres. Recycled tyres are grounded completely whereas the rubber compound is used in playground flooring, footwear and asphalt. Another creative idea is to paint truck tyre in different colours, fill the centre with soil and use them for planting flowers and other shrubs.

Environmental recycling process isn’t always energy efficient and scalable for a lot of work is being done to find efficient ways in recycling bulk tyres. As we speak, tyres can be re-used and re-treaded means effective reproduction using original casing however, tread components are replaced completely.

Due to cost factors, recycled/remanufactured tyres are used more often on commercial vehicles but when comparing performance and quality with premium brands, these aren’t suitable for rough tracks or higher speed.

Burning

Before tyres are burned to harness energy, they’re first shredded or chipped completely. The shreds are then combined with other fuels and burned in an industrial facility to generate fuel. Truck tyres are known having a high level of heat energy with an ability to give the same amount of energy as oil; far greater than coal

Conclusion

Management of waste tyres is a persisting environmental issue and various researches are performed to improve yield.