5 Different Ways to Recycle Tires

May 31, 2016 | Recycling, Tires

tire chips

At Western Tire Recycling, we love grinding up, shredding, and ultimately recycling OTR tires or turning them into dependable tire water tanks. There are many methods used for tires to begin a new life as a recycled product. Here are a few of the more common ways that tires are recycled as they meet their new beginnings and are changed into many different kinds of products.

1. Shredding and grinding tires

This method is one of our personal favorites. If you watched the video on our frontpage, this is most of what we do. When a tire is shredded, the volume is reduced to about a ¼ of the original. The resulting products are a rubber crumb which is used as raw materials in a variety of different industries and even in the creation of new tires.

2. Ambient Scrap Tire Processing

This process, much like shredding and grinding, is where the tires are not cooled and remain at ambient (room) temp and are then slowly ground down through a series of granulators. This allows for the production of rubber crumbs of varying sizes.

3. Cryogenic Crushing

This process takes the Mr. Freeze approach and completely freezes the tires to a temperature of about -80C(-112F). At that temperature point the rubber becomes nearly as brittle as glass and can be crushed or broken. For a fun stress reliever, watch rubber being crushed and compressed,. While the end product is usually cleaner, it is overall a more expensive process. This is mostly due to the liquid nitrogen required to freeze the materials.

4. Pyrolysis

If the last process was Mr. Freeze, then this one is more like the Human Torch. Pyrolysis involves destroying the tires at temperatures upwards of 430C(806F). This is a process that can be used to essentially turn tires into oil, which can be used as a low-cost replacement for diesel fuel.

5. Molectra

Among the most complicated of processes to recycle tires is the Molectra Process. It integrates mechanical, chemical, and microwave treatments to break down the tire. There are 5 main steps to this process:

  • The first step involves removing the two steel bead wires from the trim of the tire. The tire is then sliced into segments.
  • Next, the tires are treated chemically for a period of 4 hours in softening agents. This treatment removes any contaminants, such as dirt, from the tire.
  • The reinforcing steel wires and fibre cords embedded in each tire segment are mechanically separated from the rubber using a series of rollers. Now that the rubber has been softened, these steel wires are easily removed.
  • The softened rubber is then granulated into various mesh sizes from the size of a pea, down to a very fine powder.
  • The rubber is heated either on low heat, to extract the softening chemicals and produce a 100% pure rubber, or heated on high heat, to produce carbon and oil.

These processes are some of the most commonly used methods to recycle used tires. And while they all produce slightly different results, the end result is the same. We’re helping the planet by recycling a worn-out material, that would otherwise last until the end of time, and turning it back into something useful.

Please Leave a Comment