If someone asked you to think about the most hazardous parts of a car left for scrap, things like the battery, engine oil, and other fluids would probably spring immediately to mind. Those are certainly things that need to be responsibly disposed of, and the importance of doing it just right is one reason why it’s so important to have old cars recycled at an authorized facility.
However, one thing people don’t often think about is the tyres. They don’t seem to pose much of a threat, but they also need to be responsibly recycled.
Why Do Car Tyres Need to Be Recycled?
The main danger with car tyres is that they are often stockpiled illegally in large piles, and there’s always a danger they’ll catch fire. In one well-publicised case, tyres stored at a site in Swansea caught fire and burned for 23 days. The cost of combating the blaze and dealing with the tyres was estimated at around £2.6m.
It isn’t just the fire itself that’s dangerous. Burning tyres can have a profound and prolonged effect on local air quality. Just think of all that thick, black smoke. Even if they don’t burn, tires that aren’t properly disposed of can clutter up public areas and endanger local wildlife.
What Happens When Tyres Are Recycled?
Tyres aren’t always disposed of the same way. They will usually be fed into a shredder to create small strips, but some recycling centres have equipment that can take a whole tyre and turn it into Tyre Derived Fuel. In both cases, magnets and screens will be used to separate metals and fibres from the rubber.
If not used for fuel, shredded tyres can be used for things such as AstroTurf, insulation, construction materials, mud guards, speed bumps, and more. In some cases, scrap tires can be remoulded with new treads to create cost-saving alternatives to new tyres.