Driving Sustainability With Tyre Recycling

Posted on 05 November 2019 by CarTakeBack

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Recycling technology is having to move fast to help achieve sustainability across the globe, and in this industry tyres are changing from a big problem to great solutions...
As the largest scrap car recycling network in the UK we handle a lot of cars at the end of their life. That’s an understatement, but we don’t want to drown you in stats! Unless your car has enough miles left in it for re-sale it’s most likely to be broken for parts or recycled. Either way we’re left with tyres. A lot of tyres!
No doubt you are well aware that in the past only the metal was recovered from vehicles. The government introduced increased targets in 2015 that meant a huge 95% of the weight of all cars scrapped had to be recycled (we can’t resist the opportunity to blow our own trumpet and remind you that CarTakeBack's investment in recycling meant we reached this target two years earlier – toot toot!).

Tyres are obviously a part of this 95%. To put it into perspective, over the years our recycling centres have diverted approximately 25 million tyres - that’s around 150,000 tonnes - from landfill!

close up of tyre tread

You’d think tyres were one of the simpler components of a car to recycle, but they’re composed of a mix of steel, rubber and textiles. They can even contain oils and other trace chemicals from road use, which can class them as hazardous. So tyres are actually considered difficult to recycle, but with investment, and a drive towards a zero-waste economy, technology moves on…

The tyres CarTakeBack removes can be re-used if they are in good condition and meet tread-depth legislation. Others are disposed of via licensed tyre recyclers producing materials used in all sorts of applications, from playground and other safety surfaces to replacement fuel in cement kilns.

The latest news that is exciting the industry is that your old tyres could be used to drive on! While this solution is already in use across the US, and has been tested in Scotland, Coventry’s city council is the first in England trialling a new asphalt consisting of shredded car tyres.

laying roads

Experts say the rubber helps to thicken the bitumen that binds the crushed stones together. So not only does the surface provide a good grip, it traps and disperses sound waves. On a stretch of dual carriageway between Perth and Dundee it was found to reduce traffic noise by 25%! For every kilometre of highway resurfaced it’s estimated 750 waste tyres could be used. Quieter roads and recycled material – that’s undoubtedly a win-win!

Hopefully one day soon you'll be driving on a road made from the tyres from your old car, although we won't be able to tell you where that will be! Can you imagine the recycling enthusiast selfies - there'd be traffic jams all over the UK!

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