Tyres have been an integral part of modern life for more than a century, providing essential mobility for everything from bicycles and cars to airplanes and earth-moving equipment. They are versatile, durable, and reliable, but when they reach the end of their useful life, they become a significant source of waste. Disposing of tyres in landfills can lead to many environmental problems, such as soil pollution and unsightly tyre dumps, which can take decades or even centuries to decompose.

As a result, tyre recycling has become a crucial activity for environmental protection in recent years. In this blog, we will take you through the history and evolution of tyre recycling.

The Early Days of Tyre Recycling

The earliest known instance of tyre recycling goes back to the 1800s, when inventors began to explore how to re-use rubber. Around this time, people began to realize the potential for rubber products beyond tyre production. One of the first commercially successful applications was the use of rubber in shoes, which transformed the industry.

Then, in the 1900s, the automobile industry boomed, and the increased demand for tyres meant that manufacturers were producing millions of tyres per year. This influx of rubber waste called for new ways to recycle used tyres.

Advancements in Tyre Recycling

In the 1960s, researchers discovered that tyre shreds could serve as a low-quality thermal insulation material. They could also be used as a road bed material, which was a significant advancement. In the 1970s, the tyre shreds were used to develop mudflaps, tarps, and even fuel pellets. These early innovations led to the development of new techniques for handling tyres after their useful life.

Tyre pyrolysis, which involves heating tyres in the absence of oxygen to break them down into their basic components, became more advanced in the 1980s. This process enabled the extraction of valuable materials like oil, gas, and carbon black, which could be reused in various applications.

The Current State of Tyre Recycling

Today, there are numerous methods and technologies for recycling tyres, ranging from simple manual processing to cutting-edge technological solutions. In recent years, waste tyre recycling has become a priority in many countries, leading to government support and investments in tyre recycling industries.

Some of the most common tyre recycling techniques today include:

  • Mechanical shredding
  • Cryogenic grinding
  • Pyrolysis
  • Chemical devulcanization

As a result of these methods, waste tyres can now be recycled and used to create new tyres, playground surfaces, roof shingles, and other products.

In conclusion, the history and evolution of tyre recycling is a remarkable story of human ingenuity and progress. From the early days of rubber re-use to the advanced technological solutions of today, tyre recycling has come a long way. We’ve seen increased awareness of environmental issues, innovative solutions, and government support all contribute to the current state of tyre recycling. However, there’s still a long way to go, and we must continue to support and invest in tyre recycling innovations to protect our planet for future generations.