New Uses for Old Tires, that Solve an Environmental Problem
Millions of Tires are Thrown Away Anually - What to do with Them
Did you know that:
- Every year more than one billion (1,000,000,000) new tires are produced allover the world in more than 500 factories.
- About three hundred million (300,000,000) old tires are replaced annually in US alone.
- Nearly one billion used old tires per year have to be disposed.
- Disposing old tires has become a serious problem.
- Used old tyres are a health hazard and an environmental problem.
Do you know where all these used old tires go?
- Out of the Three Hundred Million old tires disposed in USA about 8% are exported for reusing.
- About 50% are recycled
- 10% are used in land fills
- 10% are used for Road Construction as Rubberized Asphalt Concrete
- 5% Are used as fuel to generate electricity and in some industries like cement
- Balance are thrown away and dumped illegally
Do you know that old tires become a health hazard:
- By becoming ideal breeding places for mosquitoes that spread deadly diseases like Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Malaria and Filariasis
- By adding various hazardous materials to ground water
Read on for more on the present situation and what we can do about to protect the environment.
A Tyre Pile - Ideal Breeding Pools for Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are not only a Nuisance - But can be a Deadly Problem
Tire Piles - Breeding Pools for Mosquitoes
The tires are piled up in dumping yards till they are disposed of. Sometimes they are simply thron away lying allover. Two of the uses for old tyres are using them as weights to keep tarpaulins in place or keep the roofing sheets blown away by the wind. Sometimes they are used as buffers for boats at boat yards and marinas or road bends. All these uses exposes the old tires to rain, making them to collect rainwater that in turn become breeding pools for mosquitoes.
Dengue Fever, Chickungunya, Malaria and Filariasis are some of the fatal diseases carried and spread by mosquitoes. This is the biggest health hazard caused by old tires. According to World Health Organization (WHO) 40% of the world population, 2.5 million people are at risk of getting Dengue fever.
Water Pollution and air Pollution Caused by Tires.
Tire dumps, tires in landfills, tire scraps used for roads all leach chemicals hazardous for human health, to environment. These chemicals pollute the surface and ground water. Some chemicals leached from old tires contain hormone disruptors and some cause permanent impairments to fetus. Use of old tires burnt as a fuel in cement kilns, power stations and other places of burning add many toxic gases to the atmosphere. The hazardous chemicals chemicals from old tyres are Dioxins, Furans, Nitrogen oxides, Sulfur oxides, Lead and Chromium compounds. Used tires are the biggest waste item that makes a problem for recycling due to the large volume and long time that takes for decay. The traditional methods of disposing tires are either inappropriate or inadequate. Therefore new ways of disposing old tires have to be found to minimize the health and environmental hazards.
Another Hazardous Use of Old Tires
Tyre Fires are Extremely Dificult to be Extinguished
Another problem with the tyre piles and tire dumps are the risk of catching fire. Once started a tire fire is very difficult to be extinguished, sometimes taking months to put off. This raises many safety issues and air pollution that takes pollutants for miles by the wind. The problem old tires will become a global issue due to the explosion of vehicle usage in Asian countries like China, India and ASEAN countries. The only solution is finding new methods employing new technologies by diverting funds for more research. Incentives have to be given for recycling businesses employing safe technologies so that they become viable.
New Uses for Old Tires.
Produce Diesel - Pyrolysis
Making Tire Derived Fuel (TDF) is the largest single use of old tires. Old tires shredded to pieces of about one to two inches are added to coal used as fuel in cement kilns and power stations. But strong protests due to the environmental concerns new methods have to be found. Pyrolysis is the most promising of the new technologies used for tire disposal. Pyrolysis is a method that can be compared to wood gasification. This process produces fuel gases, liquid fuels like Benzine, Diesel and Kerosene leaving carbon black and steel wires. As the products are high quality energy sources this may become a lucrative business also. Bi-products too have ready markets.
Using Microwave and Ultrasound for Recycling
These two innovative technologies use Microwave and ultrasound to break up long chains of molecules in rubber to produce products like fuel gases, liquid fuels, carbon black and mouldable soft rubbers similar to some plastics.These disposal methods are desirable because they do not contribute to pollution.
Retreading and Recapping
This can be applied only for reasonably good tires that have no damage to the tire walls and to the reinforcing steel. Improving the existing technology and tire retreading machinery is needed to retread handle more and more tires.
This method uses liquid Nitrogen to cool the crumb rubber to -100 degrees Celsius. At this temperature rubber becomes brittle and can be ground to a powder that can be used for making rubber products. This technology also has to be developed to make it commercially viable.