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A guide to tyre recycling in the UK

You may not have ever given it much thought, but tyres are an extremely important part of your everyday life.  You depend upon your vehicle’s tyres to take you from A to B, whether it’s the early morning commute to the train station or a quick dash to the supermarket.

You would be forgiven for not giving a second thought to your old tyres when they’re replaced by newer tyres that make your car safer to drive.  However, what exactly does happen to those end-of-life tyres once they’ve left your rims and been set to one side by your local garage or tyre specialist?

It is said that as much as half-a-million tonnes of rubber tyres enters the waste stream across the UK each year.  This poses an issue because tyres are among the most difficult items to recycle given that they’re made up of a combination of steel, rubber and textile.

Additionally, the 2006 EU Landfill Directive no longer permits end-of-life tyres at landfill sites, which means all tyres must be recycled or re-used in some way, shape or form.

How most tyres are recycled

In most cases, end-of-life tyres are granulated in the first instance to ensure that the various materials within an individual tyre can be retrieved.  It is possible that some tyres will have oil and other contaminants from heavy road use that must be disposed of.  The tyres are then shredded into flakes, known as rubber crumb.

What is the rubber crumb used for?

Very often, the rubber crumb is utilised in the following applications:

In the case of utilising rubberised asphalt for roads, trials have proven that this can help to make roads quieter.  Rubberised asphalt was used on some of Scotland’s busiest roads – namely between Perth and Dundee – and it was found that not only did the surface offer adequate grip, it was quieter than traditional tarmac.

Experts say that this is because the rubber helps to thicken the bitumen – the agent used to bind the crushed stones together.  The result is that the road surface traps and disperses sound waves.

It’s just one of many eco-friendly uses of recycled rubber and at ASM Metal Recycling we provide our own comprehensive tyre collection and recycling service from our very own recycling facility.

If you’d like to discuss our tyre recycling service further, please give us a call today on 01296 33 77 11 to find out more.