When some items reach the end of their usable life, they end up in landfills. A few years ago, that meant old tires too, but no longer. Once a tire can no longer be retreaded or regrooved, it is considered at the end of its life, but that doesn’t mean it is rolled to the dump.
In 1920, The Rubber Association of Canada was formed to oversee tire and rubber manufacturing in Canada. Today, the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) works with manufacturers, importers, government groups, environmental associations and consumers to maintain, foster and educate people on the tire and rubber industry. After a huge tire fire in Hagersville, ON in 1990, a big piece of TRAC’s mandate became their end-of-life tire management program.
Approximately 1 billion end-of-life tires (ELT) are generated every year. Finding a way to dispose of them in an environmentally and productively sound way is a huge priority for the industry. Across Canada, each province has established a recycling program to deal with these tires under the Canadian Association of Tire Recycling Agencies (CATRA). In Ontario, that association is Rethink Tires and it has grown immensely over the last few years.
The mandate of these groups is their commitment in dealing with what used to be considered a waste product. Old tires are far from waste nowadays though. 95% of the material in old tires from cars, trucks, airplanes and off-road vehicles are now recovered and reused. The ELT industry is constantly looking at new ways to reduce the environmental impact of old tires and rethink what they can use this raw material for. Old tires are far more than fodder for the kid’s swings nowadays. The list of tire-derived products grows every day.
- rubber mulch
- rubber landscape tiles
- playground surfaces
- roofing shakes
- athletic flooring
- acoustic underlay and carpet pads
- rubber bricks
- rubber paving
For every new product created from an old tire, not only is space is freed up in a landfill, but a new industry is born. That means ‘green’ jobs, reduced need for raw materials, and a more positive impact on the environment. It is a win-win for everyone, from the environment, to industry, to you!
And all it takes is you dealing with your old tires. Do your part for the environment and the economy and recycle your end-of-life tires today.