Old Tires Get a Second Chance With Green Rubber
Editor’s note: We’re excited about our new partnership with Green Rubber, a company that has developed a method for “devulcanizing” waste tires so that the rubber can be made into new products. Starting this fall, we’ll be using Green Rubber’s recycled material in the soles of some of our footwear.
Did you know about 1.3 billion vehicle tires are manufactured every year?
We are so busy thinking about emission and fuel efficiency standards for cars, it is hardly surprising that we pay little attention to what keeps them stuck to the road. And while rubber does grow on trees, most tire rubber is synthetic and made from oil. In fact a typical car tire contains at least a couple of gallons of oil.
So it makes perfect sense to find new ways of using tires once they are worn out.
Globally, about 1 billion tires are thrown away every year.
There are about 7 billion sitting in landfills.
Tire mountains are perfect breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects and pollute the water table. They take decades to degrade and can burn for years if they catch fire. At the moment, some old tires can be reused in environmentally-conscious ways –for example, shredded and used as filler in playground and gym floors — but the fact of the matter is that most waste tires end up as a fuel in cement kilns and power plants.
The difficulty in reusing waste tires is that they are made from vulcanised rubber. Vulcanisation is a process that gives rubber the strength and durability that makes it suitable for applications such as tires. Basically it involves adding sulphur and other chemicals to raw rubber and then heating it up.
The problem is that that vulcanisation has long been a one-way process. Once vulcanised, rubber can’t be re-shaped and reused for any other purpose.
At Green Rubber Inc., we have come up with a new way of using scrap tires. We have a patented, environmentally-conscious way of reversing the vulcanisation process so that old tire waste can be reused and made into new products. We take scrap tire waste, add our patented chemical formula called DeLink and after a short time in a milling process, the end material is devulcanised and ready for reuse. The process uses environmentally-conscious chemicals and low levels of electricity.
Buying products containing Green Rubber™ means that all that carbon locked up in tires isn’t released into the atmosphere when a tire comes to the end of its working life – a preferable solution to an acute environmental problem.
Andrew Murray-Watson is the Vice President of Communications for Green Rubber.