Sometimes, we get an image of our poor, tired environment, struggling to hold its own against a tidal wave of pollution, contamination, and destruction. Technology is great; but the strain it places on the environment is enormous.
Take a simple, everyday part of modern society: the rubber tyre. Every single year, over 1 Billion tyres are discarded in the world. Non-biodegradable and irregularly shaped, discarded tyres can sit around for the next hundred thousand years, posing a serious threat to our environment. What happens to all of these tyres? Well, the simplest way—just tossing them—can lead to some serious environmental consequences. Scrap tyres, with their irregular shape and steel components, are not allowed in regular landfills; they could easily ruin the lining of the landfills, allowing the ground and surface water to mix with the contaminated substances in the landfill. Left without a convenient place to toss their tyres, many people just dump their tyres illegally into any empty spot: canyons, empty lots, and anywhere else.
There the tyres sit, collecting rainwater and attracting disease-carrying insects. As breeding grounds for mosquitoes, these tyres pose a hazard for people, livestock, and the environment. And although the environment might not protest immediately, all of those spare tyres take away an awful lot of her natural beauty.
What do we do about all of this? We recycle them. Although they may be nuisances for the environment, tyres—even old, unusable ones—are still very useful commodities. For one thing, rubber tyres are repositories of the non-renewable petroleum products which went into their original creation. When tyres are incinerated, they yield substantial sources of useful power, reclaimed from the energy stored within them. Many tyre-recycling facilities use the tyres as fuel, thereby conserving and reusing this energy.
However, there are countless other uses for discarded tyres, which work wonders for the environment while providing people with useful products. A significant portion of used tyres are used to form recycled rubber products made by shredding the rubber tyres after removing the steel and textile components.
Truly, recycled rubber is a win-win proposition, both for consumers and for the environment. No trees die in the creation of rubber; recycling saves landfill space; and consumers get a truly useful product!
Though the fight for the environment is far from over, at least we’re doing our share for the environmental clean-up.