Chipped scrap vehicle tyres with varying levels of wire and fabric still contained in the chips have a very high British Thermal Unit (Btu) value compared to other common energy sources making them valuable for recycling.
Every year in the United States, 250 million automobile tyres are discarded, presenting a serious disposal problem. Scrap tires take up large amounts of space and are difficult to destroy. The unsightly mounds of tyres are flammable and release toxic fumes when burned.
Recycled rubber is used in asphalt overlays on highways. A reclaimed rubber modified asphalt mixture improves stability, durability, reflective crack reduction and oxidation resistance. This mixture has an indicated service life outlasting conventional mixes. Construction procedures are similar to typical lay-down operations.
TDF (tire-derived fuel) requires users to have agreements on zoning, transmission access, construction and environmental applications from state and local authorities.
Tyre retreading and remanufacturing offers one of the best opportunities to reduce the number of tyres requiring disposal. Tyre type determines the future life of a tyre. Radial passenger tyres, unlike the bias tyre, are not easily retreaded. New radials require retreaders to retool to state-of-the-art equipment. Low-cost tyres cannot be retreaded.
In Brazil in 1999, the recycling rate for discarded tyres was 10% of the 900,000 tonnes recycled each year.