5 things you never knew were made from recycled tyres
As a rule, when you get your car tyres replaced at your local fitters, they will take care of your old tyres so that you don’t have to worry about disposing of them yourself. But have you ever wondered just what happens to these used tyres once you’ve driven away on your smart new ones?
There is an incredible number of ways in which rubber from your discarded car tyres is recycled, many of which you unknowingly come into contact with on a daily basis. We know that tyres play a crucial role in keeping us safe when we are driving – but did you know that they also help to keep us safe long after their useful life on our vehicles has ended? Read on to learn more about the fascinating afterlife of tyres and what they are used for.
1. Playground surfaces
Whether or not you have children of your own, you are sure to be familiar with the soft, rubber surfaces now common in children’s outdoor play areas. Swings, slides, roundabouts and other equipment are now typically installed on a surface that is soft, non-abrasive and can help prevent injury when children inevitably stumble and fall – helping to keep those fragile knees, elbows and other parts from getting hurt.
As well as preventing cuts, grazes and even more serious injuries, this rubberised surface is far more hygienic than traditional alternatives such as sand or woodchip and does not rot – an important consideration in damper climates such as we are blessed with. All these benefits are achieved as a result of grinding used car tyres.
2. Running tracks
If you’ve ever run on a dedicated athletics track, you’ll have experienced the soft, bouncy feel of the surface. Just like in the playground, this is the result of ground rubber typically sourced from recycled car tyres. This rubber surface layer acts as a shock absorber, reducing impact and helping to protect athletes from injury. At the same time, it provides the perfect level of grip for athletes to perform at their best.
Another benefit of ground rubber for running tracks is that it is resistant to the elements, and also tends to compact less than other materials. This ensures that the surface remains in the perfect, smooth condition needed for athletics. The result is a long-lasting surface that requires minimal maintenance.
3. Railway components
Did you know that recycled car tyres have many applications on the railways? One increasingly common application is a rubberised coating for modern reinforced concrete sleepers. Encasing these steel and concrete sleepers in a coating of recycled rubber helps to prevent natural erosion from the elements, as well as absorbing some of the shocks they are exposed to when supporting the tracks. According to studies conducted in America, the end result is estimated to be 200% stronger than traditional creosote soaked wooden sleepers which are now sought after for many home and garden projects.
In addition, recycled tyre rubber is also being increasingly used at level crossings to provide a level, non-slip surfaces around and between the rails that helps to make them easier to negotiate and improves safety for both drivers and pedestrians.
4. Footwear and apparel
You may not be aware, but the very shoes you are wearing right now may use rubber from recycled tyres. Tyre rubber is being increasingly used in footwear and apparel and is especially popular for the manufacture of rubber beach sandals and rubber household slippers, as well as soles on a range of other footwear. In fact, some environmentally friendly brands are now using this as a selling point to make their products more appealing to the conscientious consumer.
With its durable characteristics, rubber from recycled car tyres has also become common in watch straps and many other rubberised components of clothing and accessories. Rubberised protection and padding on bags and suitcases are often now made using the same material, as are wheels and handles on suitcases and briefcases.
As well as recycling, some creative companies are even now upcycling used car tyres to create unique and interesting ranges of environmentally friendly accessories including handbags, wallets, bracelets and more.
5. Speed bumps
Let’s face it, nobody likes speed bumps. But have you ever wondered how they are made? You guessed it – from your old car tyres! Many modern speed bumps are made using recycled tyre rubber as it is more resistant to the elements and presents a reduced risk of damage to vehicles. Recycled rubber also allows different shapes and sizes of speed bumps to be designed for different situations.
Unlike permanent bumps and humps made out of asphalt, rubber alternatives can also be moved – although it is recommended that this is left to those responsible for maintaining the highway! On a more serious note, recycled tyre rubber today plays an increasingly significant role in making our roads, streets and car parks safer for all users.
Here at Tyreland in Dublin, we stock a wide range of tyres at unbeatable prices, as well as offering unrivalled customer service. With fitting and balancing included and a free wheel alignment check also available, you can be sure to drive away with confidence no matter what your budget. For more information call now on 01 860 20 20 or simply click on the menu to locate your nearest branch.