Tire Recycling Plant: What is it?

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Tire disposal is difficult due to their empty space, which can cause landfills to fill up quickly and harbor parasites. Tire recycling plants break down tires into crumb rubber for repurposing in various applications, but metal must be separated to avoid contamination. Retreading is not done on site, and shredders create different sized particles.

It is very difficult to properly dispose of rubber tires from vehicles, as these rubber items contain a significant amount of empty space. This means that landfills will fill up very quickly, and the empty space can harbor parasites, allow mosquitoes to breed, and even trap methane gas. A tire recycling plant helps solve this problem by breaking down old tires and turning them into usable materials. Tires can be delivered to a tire recycling facility, usually in packages created with a compactor, and then broken down into small pieces known as crumb gum.

This crumb rubber can be repurposed in many ways, including use in hot asphalt, laying basketball courts or tennis courts, and even making shoe soles. However, these processes do not take place at the tire recycling plant; instead, this facility will be used to break down old tires and turn them into crumbs of usable rubber. The facility will also have baling capabilities, meaning the particulate powdered rubber can be compacted into large bales that are usually wrapped in plastic. These bales make transporting crumbled rubber particulate much safer and easier; the bales can also be stored easily in the tire recycling plant.

Many tires contain metal and in many cases this metal must be separated from the rubber before the rubber can be effectively reused. Many tire recycling plants will have machinery to do this, although in some cases the metal is left inside the rubber. Trace metals within rubber can be dangerous when crumb rubber is used as a ground fill, as the chemicals in the metal and vulcanized rubber can leach into the soil, leading to contamination.

If a tire is in good enough condition to be retreaded, it can be selected and sent to a tire manufacturer with the skills to retread the tire. A tire recycling plant usually doesn’t have the machinery or manpower to do this job on site. Most of the machines in a tire recycling plant are designed to break down tires; shredders, for example, are machines equipped with large hoppers into which tires can be loaded. The rotating blades will then shred the large tires into crumb rubber. Particle size generally varies depending on how the machine is set up, thus allowing the machine to create different sized particles depending on the intended application.

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