We live in an era where there is a growing concern for the depletion of the world’s natural resources and accumulation of greenhouse gases. Everyone from scientists, engineers, to urban planners is searching for the ways in which recycled products can be used to alleviate the issue of the planet’s diminishing resources and the problems of temperature change. Average global temperatures could rise by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2060, according to a new report from the United Kingdom's Met Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. One such product that has been leading this battle for nearly thirty years is the rubber industry, mostly obtained from recycled tire rubber. Rubber is used in lots of industries and its recycled version’s use helps preserve both energy and resources. Over 250 millions tires are discarded every year in the US, taking up space in landfills. This is an abundance of material to be utilized for new products that are made from recycled rubber. Thankfully, while the planet’s resources are definitively limited, there is a virtually unlimited amount of uses of recycled rubber in order to combat the issue. With rapidly-growing results in this industry, more and more time is being dedicated to researching this field; with an increased amount of research and technology, we can only expect to see an increased amount of uses for recycled rubber which will undoubtedly benefit the future of our planet. From recycled rubber sheet materials used as industrial padding to flooring gyms, used tires can be a viable and affordable alternative to.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the uses of recycled rubber, it does however provide a helpful look into the incredible amount products and applications that are being produced from it, many of which are both surprising and exciting!
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What Are the Uses of Recycled Rubber?
- Asphalt: recycled tire rubber is ground up into crumb rubber and incorporated into the asphalt mix, called Rubber Asphalt Concrete (RAC) to produce safer, less-noisy roads and highways.
- Athletic Surfacing: surfaces created out of the recycled products are designed to be softer and reduce the damage done to the athletes who perform and compete on them, including running tracks, equestrian arenas, and tennis courts.
- Playground Tiles: provides a safer and longer-lasting alternative to traditional wood mulch, sand, or plain concrete providing for safer and better-looking playgrounds. It is important to emphasize the safety provided by these new floors that were previously missing!
- Landscaping Materials: rubber mulch is heavier and easier to maintain than traditional mulch, making for better gardens.
- Pavement: better surfaces for bike paths, golf cart roads, and sidewalks.
- Matting: recycled rubber sheet can be used as protective flooring and matting for homes, factories, gyms, and even horse stalls, just like the mats produced at Rubber-Cal. Rubber flooring is the ideal fitness flooring.
- Shoes: the soles of shoes are made from recycled rubber, as well as to make whole sandals that are comfortable and easy to wear. The Nike revolution has been in part a rubber shoe revolution.
- Apparel Accessories: rubber has been found inside of items such as handbags, wallets, and belts that look good and are safe for use.
- Roofing: whether it is the roof tiles themselves, or simply padding to protect the outer layers of the roof during maintenance and installation, recycled rubber is there to help with the task. EPDM being the traditional materials used on roofs is slowly giving way to Tire Derived products!
- Sidewalks: Modular, maintainable, and moveable, our unbreakable products eliminate the cost of broken concrete replacement, and reduce trip-and-fall risk. As tree roots grow, sidewalks are damaged and need replacement. Rubber is elastic and will conform to minor changes. It is also less expensive to repair!
- Sound control: rubber is found in the mats and wall padding that are used in sound studious to improve acoustics and reduce the levels of vibrations and sound transmissions.
- Concrete: rubber is being incorporated into cement mixtures in order to build floors, walls, and foundations. It may take a chunk out of market for concrete in the coming years.
- Industrial Pads: When industry needs to protect hard surfaces from one another, there is no better padding than rubber. Discarded tire rubber turned into recycled rubber sheet can be fabricated to any dimension or thickness to fit this need.
- Ballistic Tiles: Exhibit tremendous capturing properties to prevent ricochets and lead splash-backs!
- Retreaded Tires: instead of going through the process of grinding down old tires, they can simply be retreaded to create completely safe tires for kinds of vehicles, from automobiles to aircrafts. Worried about the safety of these tires? Most passenger airlines, military planes, and public buses used retreaded tires!
- Tire swings: this one’s easy and been around of years! Connect a tire to a tree branch using rope or chain for hours of fun for yourself and your children, sure to produce fond memories for generations.
- Barriers: barriers constructed from dozens or hundreds of whole tires for highways to prevent crashes, for erosion control, or even in the construction of artificial barrier reefs.
- Cultivation: tires themselves can be used in making raised planters for some interesting gardening options.
- Fuels: some of the bi-products in the recycling process are used to create Tire-Derived Fuels (TDFs); these fuels produce the same amount of energy as petroleum-based fuels, and produce 25% more energy than coal.
- Residences: Started in the 1970s, some people have opted to build homes out of discarded tires that are packed tightly with earth, unsurprisingly called “Earth Ships.” These are perhaps the most innovative application of recycled rubber by far!
An entire book could be written about the many uses of recycled rubber, but until you do a little bit of research on your own, this condensed list will have to hold you over; it will no doubt get your imagination going about all of the many things that can and possibly will be made from recycled rubber in the future. With the introduction of new research and new technologies, as well as the decisions made by consumers to use these products, we can expect to see an optimistic future in which we won’t have to worry about the lack of Earth’s resources. Who would have thought that so many things could be derived from recycled tire rubber, perhaps your are viewing this article on a PC using some fabricated recycled rubber sheet as foot pads!