In some countries, end-of-life tires (ELTs) are recycled and converted into roads, infill for sports grass, artificial turf, or children’s playgrounds. In other cases, used tires are reused as second-hand tires or repaired as retread tires; and in the worst cases, they accumulate in unmanaged landfills or open dumpsites posing serious risks to the environment and economic loss. ELTs are considered raw materials.
For all these reasons, it is very important to recycle and recover the value of ELTs.
| How are old tires harmful to the environment?
✔ Tires generate large volumes of waste per year.
✔ They are not biodegradable.
✔ It is difficult to extinguish in case of fire.
✔ They occupy large spaces in landfills.
✔ Tires accumulate noxious gases and leachate.
What is in a tire?
Tires are designed to be as durable and resistant as possible to adverse weather and terrain conditions. It is precisely for this reason that they are so difficult to eliminate and recycle. A tire is mainly composed of:
- Natural and synthetic rubber. Rubber is made of 70% petroleum. It has a high calorific value. Depending on the market, the percentage of rubber in tires may vary. On average, a passenger car tire is built of about 43% rubber.
- Steel. 13% of the tire’s rim is made up of steel.
- Textile fiber. Textile fiber makes up about 5% of the tire. It is generally composed of aramid, rayon, nylon, and polyester fibers. The main function is to serve as a reinforcing material. It provides greater stability to the tire.
- Chemicals and mineral oils (sulfur, zinc oxide, carbon black, etc.). Chemicals and mineral oils in tires contribute to improving the properties of the rubber. They improve the resistance to traction, abrasion, and temperature. Carbon black is used as a filler and increases strength. Sulfur and zinc oxide, at 1% and 2% respectively, are used in the rubber vulcanization process to harden the tires and make them more resistant to cold.
What happens to tires at the end of their life?
Types of tires according to their condition
Depending on the country, when a tire reaches the end of its life, it is collected or delivered to a collection point. For example, garages, shops, and recycling facilities can collect tires in exchange for a fee. Tires can be classified according to their condition as in the following categories:
- Tires in good condition: tires that are still in good condition can be sold to tire retail stores as used tires.
- Retread tires: if the casing of the tire is in usable condition, the tire can be retreaded. In such cases, the tread is replaced with a new one, and the tire is put back on sale.
- End-of-life tires (ELTs): tires that cannot be recovered are classified as end-of-life tires (ELTs). They must be sent to recycling facilities for energy recovery and recycling.
Solutions: How can REVALUO help to recycle End-of-Life tires (ELTs)?
REVALUO is the low-carbon waste-to-energy system (WTE system). The system is based on THERMOLYSIS, a non-burning thermochemical treatment for municipal solid waste. Through this technology, we manage to recycle and recover value from 85 to 90% of solid waste from landfills generating minimal CO2 emissions in the process.
Material recovery from End-of-Life tires (ELTs)
The first stage of our process is materials recovery. This is the stage in which the materials recovery facility (MRF) separates recyclable materials through manual and mechanical sorting. At this stage, we can recover steel from the tire rim and separate the fiber. These are two items are profitable components and can be sold and recycled.
THERMOLYSIS treatment and energy recovery from ELTs
The next stage after material recovery is the energy recovery from rubber and the rest of the chemicals and minerals that compose the tire. The MERIOLYSIS treatment processes the rubber pellets. During the treatment rubber pellets are heated (not burnt), at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. With this treatment, we obtain Bunker fuel at ≤ 1% sulfur and charcoal.
| Did you know that from each ton of pure rubber we can obtain between 500 and 600 kg of bunker fuel?
*The meriolysis plants dedicated to this use are the most profitable ones.
How can we market the products recycled from End-of-Life tires (ELTs)?
Steel and wires recovered from end-of-life tires can be recycled. They can be melt in Electric Arc Furnaces to obtain liquid steel. Once melt and recycled, steel can be used in metallurgical industries for instance.
Recycling of reclaimed fibers from End-of-Life tires (ELTs)
Fibers from end-of-life tires have a great capacity for absorbing vibrations and resisting the effects of atmospheric agents. For that reason, they make very competitive materials as acoustic insulator products in homes and buildings.
Marketing Bunker oil
Cement companies and other industries basing their activity on high energy consumption can benefit from Bunker fuel. Bunker fuel can be used as a replacement fuel and boost energy savings.
Charcoal can be used as a non-polluting fuel for industries.
| What are the benefits of recycling ELTs with REVALUO?
✔ Recycles a non-biodegradable product.
✔ Obtains economic profitability from it.
✔ Generates minimal emissions.
✔ Contributes to a circular economy.
✔ Return on investment fast and 100% ecological.