As with other items made from rubber or plastic, old tires have the potential to be an environmental hazard. One solution is to shred the tires and then use them for some constructive purpose. Once high quality tire shredders are set to work, what would have been damaging waste can be reused in a variety of ways. Here are 5 uses for shredded tires:
Penn State / CC BY-NC 2.0
Shredded tires work well in children’s playgrounds as a form of rubber mulch. Tire shredders create the mulch and it acts as a padded surface for kids in different areas of a playground. Shredded tires have a very long lifespan in a playground scenario, as it is not affected by weather or normal wear and tear. The surface will also provide sufficient traction for kids and help to reduce injuries.
Landfills are another place that tire shreds can find a useful home. Whether it’s lightweight backfill, operational liners or material for everyday cover, shredded tires provide a viable solution in many cases. The leftovers from tire shredders can find a home and a purpose in many different landfills.
Septic System Drain Fields
In some areas, the expense of building septic system drain fields is reduced by using shredded tires instead of traditional materials. For drain fields, the tire shreds must be in the form of chips, and all those chips must be of uniform size in order to be utilized effectively.
Just about anywhere that gravel can be used, shredded tires can be used for similar effect. Tire shredders have to shred the old tires anyway, and they’re usually less costly than gravel, but tend to work the same way. The shreds are of similar weight and consistency and allow water to flow through in a similar fashion. If you end up seeing little bits of shredded tire instead of gravel somewhere, you’ll know that the system is working just as planned.
Subgrade Fill and Embankments
Another area where shredded tires are used constructively is to create embankments on weak and compressible foundation soil. The tire shreds work well to build up the embankments and usually cost quite a bit less than the alternatives. They have been used for highway ramps, highway embankments, access roads and highway shoulder reconstruction.
Ken W is a freelance writer, who has worked in the waste management industry for the last ten years providing regulatory guidance with industrial shredding companies like Artech Reduction Technologies.