Everyone can agree that recycling and reclaiming used goods is not only an excellent way to protect dwindling natural resources and to combat pollution—it also serves an economical purpose. Avoiding the use of new resources that often have to be specially treated can allow manufacturers to reduce their production costs, and to pass down those savings directly to consumers. Keep this in mind as we begin to talk about flooring options! When it comes to buildings, such as residential, commercial, civil, or industrial, one of the most expensive areas to repair and replace will usually be flooring structures. For that reason, people will pick strong and durable flooring options that can stand up to foot-traffic, harsh weather conditions, and many other types of abuse.
Commercial rubber matting offers a solution to these two distinctly different issues—a need to recycle an overabundant amount of material that would otherwise be wasted, and the everyday need for a high-quality surfacing option. Rubber tire mats are made from the carefully treated material that is produced from recycling and reclaiming discarded automobile tires. In order to reuse and produce new goods from the original automobile tire, like rubber crumb matting, the tire has to be stripped and broken down into a granular consistency. The entire process can be tricky and even difficult, but there are many good reasons why rubber recovery should be a priority.
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The Importance of Reclaimed & Recycled Matting Rubber Materials
When it comes to protective, aesthetic, durable, resilient, and affordable floor matting, rubber materials are simply one of the best available options.
Why Do We Need to Recycle Tires?
In a joint study by Adherent Technologies, Inc. and Titan Technologies, Inc. called Large-Scale Recycling Process for Scrap Tires and Rubber Products, researchers found that:
“In the United States alone, where tire consumption is higher than in any other country, an estimated 250 million scrape tires are being generated annually with no indication of the wastestream slowing. This amounts to more than 1.5% of the municipal solid wastestream or roughly one scrape tire for each person in this country. In addition, there are some three billion tires stockpiled in US landfills, collection sites, and illegal dumps that pose environmental problems and potential health and fire hazards.”
This is a staggering amount of material that is not just going unused (and therefore wasted)—it is also being left to pose as a highly dangerous risk all across the US.
One of the reasons why tires may have gone so long without being recycled and reclaimed may well have to do with the difficulty of the process itself. However, according to Practical Action Technology Challenging Poverty, there are a number of reasons why this is an important resource to tap:
- Recovered rubber can cost half that of natural or synthetic rubber.
- Recovered rubber has some properties that are better than those of virgin rubber.
- Producing rubber from reclaim requires less energy in the total production process than does virgin material.
- It is an excellent way to dispose of unwanted rubber products, which is often difficult.
- It contains non-renewable petroleum products, which are used to produce synthetic rubber.
- Recycling activities can generate work in developing countries.
- Many used products are derived from reused [tires] and other rubber products.
- If [tires] are incinerated to reclaim embodied energy then they can yield substantial quantities of used power.
- How to Use Recycled and Reclaimed Automobile Tires
- Product Reuse
- Recycled rubber products can be repaired. For example, tires can be retreaded and re-grooved.
- The discarded materials can be physically reused. Think—tire swing.
- Material Reuse
- This involves tearing, cutting, and processing the rubber into crumb, which is what is used when making rubber tire mats and other recycled flooring options.
- Energy Use
- As previously stated, discarded tires and rubber can be incinerated and used for energy.
- The Process of Recycling and Reclaiming Rubber
Before commercial rubber matting can be made, the discarded material has to be treated and prepared. Usually, the term “crumbled rubber” is applied to automobile and truck tires that are broken down and cut up into granulated pieces. First and foremost, steel and fluff has to be stripped off the tires, leaving only the rubber behind. During this process, gravel, glass, and any other stuck on debris are also removed from the tire. The rubber is then reduced to crumble by mechanical means and sometimes with the use of cryogenics, which reduces the granulated particles even further. The end result is called mesh—which refers specifically to material that has been sized by passing through screens with various sized holes.
The crumb rubber then has one of two possible routes. Crumb rubber can be put back together with the use of a binder, which is usually polyurethane-based. This sort of rubber crumb matting will often appear granulated, with a distinct texture that shows that it is mesh. On the other hand, crumb can be de-vulcanized and then vulcanized again (this is known as reclaimed rubber as opposed to recycled). When using this sort of floor matting, rubber will appear smoother and solid.
- Recycled and Reclaimed Rubber Crumb Matting
If you believe that using a recycled or reclaimed flooring option will have some sort of negative affect on efficiency and durability—we would like to assure you that it’s not true. If anything, the use of automobile tires, which are specifically designed to be tough and resilient, ensures that these rubber tire mats will be highly long-lasting! Commercial rubber matting is well suited for heavy-duty applications, so that it will work well in your home, in your business (whether it’s commercial or industrial) and even outdoors. Matting rubber materials that are obtained through recycling and reclaiming will offer a level of hard-work that is best recognized when compared to the sort of abrasive environments that tires are often exposed to. Tires have to withstand rough and uneven roads, they have to be able to operate in the presence of moisture, and they have to stand up against constant exposure to direct corrosive sunlight.
Recycled and reclaimed matting rubber materials are simply the best choice when it comes to heavy-duty applications. This commercial rubber matting option will protect and is designed to present a professional appearance that will make it well suited to fit into nearly any décor. But at their core, rubber tire mats are an ecologically responsible choice.