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It is estimated that UK motorists discard around 35 million tyres each year. A significant proportion of these tyres end up in landfill or are illegally dumped. This affects the environment in several ways:
posing health, environmental and economic threats through air, water and land pollution.
littering our landscapes and waterways.
taking up scarce landfill space.
As well as the environmental impact, tyre disposal also represents a lost opportunity; as waste tyres are a potentially valuable resource. There are existing and emerging technologies for utilising waste tyres including recycling of rubber into the manufacture of new tyres, re-treading, road construction, energy recovery, engineering applications such as athletic tracks and playground bases, and other manufactured products.
HEALTHY TYRES MAKE ENVIRONMENTAL SENSE
Keeping your tyres in tip-top order makes good financial and environmental sense.
Handling your vehicle responsibly can help reduce the 35 million figure, simply because good all-round maintenance extends the life of your tyres.
Changing tyres before they wear out improves the chance of them being used for re-treading. Recycling tyres in this way reduces use of resources like oil, and is a more energy efficient process than making a new tyre from scratch.
Most motorists are asked to pay a small charge for the safe disposal of their used tyres. A Gallup survey for the NTDA found that, once provided with the facts, most motorists are prepared to contribute in this way.
You can find out more about tyre disposal in the UK from the Used Tyre Working Group.
New tyre mileage - With proper maintenance, manufacturers expect some radial truck tyres to deliver over 100,000 kilometres on their original tread.
Retreadability - truck tyres are produced so that they are capable of being re-treaded two or more times with careful and observant maintenance.
Driver education - Retail tyre outlets and manufacturers are committed to teaching drivers about tyre maintenance and correct pressures etc. in an effort to lift the current low levels of tyre maintenance and prolong the life of tyres.
Reducing waste during production - State of the art technology, the recycling of off-cuts into rubber powders (from the re-treading process), and the fact that some manufacturers produce their own power plants, are just some of the ways the industry is working to be environmentally responsible.
Recycling used tyres for energy production- There now appears to be a solution to this problem. After retaining re-treadable casings, burning whole tyres in cement kilns and power stations is becoming more common overseas and (particularly Australia) - with tyres producing more power than coal.
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