The need for practical recycled tire products that utilize a large quantity of waste tires while producing a high value product has been a priority of solid waste administrators on the local, national and international level.
Historically, waste tires were stockpiled in landfills causing a multitude of well-documented environmental hazards.
In 2009, the USA generated 298 million new waste tires, 225 million of these tires were ground up (utilizing high energy consuming technologies) in one form or another and then utilized for three major end uses.
1) 145 million were used as Tire Derived Fuel.
2) 50 million were used as Crumb Rubber.
3) 30 million were buried for disposal, as well as used as fill for various civil engineering projects.
* 12 million tires were exported to other countries, 1.7 million used for agriculture and other miscellaneous uses and the remaining 59.3 million tires were unaccounted for.
The EPA’s Scrap Tire Workgroup contributes to the overall goals of The Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) is a national effort to conserve natural resources and energy by managing materials more efficiently.
The EPA’s Scrap Tire Workgroup committees’ efforts are directed towards:
“Finding strong and diverse markets for scrap tires is the best strategy for diverting scrap tires from tire piles and landfills. Due to the large number of scrap tires generated every year a major disruption in the markets will cause a significant increase in tire piles and an increase in the number of tires that are disposed in landfills. The more diverse the markets are, the better able they are to accommodate potential fluctuations.”
The committees’ efforts directed towards this strategy focus on:
While grinding then burning or burying tires has been effective in utilizing large quantities of waste tires and has helped to remediate waste tire stockpiles, it has had limited success in reaching the basic goal of local, national and international agencies to recycle waste tires into value-added products” and to “beneficially use waste tires in an environmentally acceptable manner.“
RE-TREAD PRODUCTS Inc. (RTP) has developed a new building material made from recycled tires called the “Tire Log™”. The Tire Log™ is a patented innovation made from waste tires with a unique and energy efficient approach to recycling tires. RTP’s process takes full advantage of the embedded energy in tires that is wasted in conventional tire recycling that primarily involves the grinding, burying or burning of waste tires.
RTP recycling method is based on a simple energy efficient procedure that helically wraps the steel belted tread of the tire around a core of tire treads to essentially any length or diameter. The net result is a building material combining the desirable characteristics of tire materials with the structural integrity provided by RTP’s patented design.
In a published report from a collaborative study directed by Dr. Andrew Olewnik at the New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation (NYSCEDII) to determine the most effective method for automating the Tire Log™ manufacturing process; it was estimated that RTP manufacturing method of winding as opposed to grinding tires will use 3.5 times less energy to produce a Tire Log™ than it takes to grind a tire into a 2″ chip that will ultimately be buried or used as tire derived fuel.
FULL LIFE CYCLE PERSPECTIVE:
The positive effects of the Tire Log™ and RTP recycling system from the full Life Cycle perspective are significant. Not only is the Tire Log™ made from waste tires but it’s overall recycling/manufacturing system uses a small fraction of the energy required of conventional tire recycling systems. RTP’s process takes full advantage of the embedded energy in tires that is wasted in conventional tire recycling systems that are based on the use of high energy consuming grinding machinery that produce low value tire chips that are primarily used as Tire Derived Fuel or as Tire Derived Aggregate.
This system will use significantly less energy than conventional grinding methods of recycling and produce a much higher valued end product for the waste tire. The winding system is inherently less polluting and will leave a much smaller carbon footprint than the production of tire derived fuel or tire derived aggregate does on the environment. In summary we have successfully developed a simple, efficient, and effective method of recycling waste tires.
The Tire Log™ is an extremely versatile and durable building material that is suitable for a multitude of uses that require a material that can withstand the most demanding environmental and physical stresses without deterioration or deformation.
The Tire Log™ will be a practical alternative for lumber and concrete in a wide variety of residential and commercial applications. It is an excellent substitute for chemically treated timbers in applications requiring an inert, non-biodegradable material that won’t leach toxins into the environment.
Due to the Tire Logs™ energy absorbing, “bends but doesn’t break” characteristics it may have its most profound value in areas that are prone to earthquakes or other extreme forces such as wave action, explosions or vehicle impacts. This assessment was confirmed by independent engineering tests conducted by the Glynn Geotechnical Engineering Group who summarized:
“The inherent characteristics of this unique building material make it capable of withstanding deformations that would crack or break conventional building materials. Furthermore, the testing of individual units demonstrates that after test loads are released the product is capable of returning to its original shape. Due to this “bend but does not break” characteristic of the Tire Log™ it may be well suited for building applications that are prone to severe and unusual stresses/shock forces such as explosions, earthquakes, wave action, water and ice pressures, flying debris and vehicle impacts.”