Within the UK alone, more than 48 million tyres are disposed of each year. The challenge is to do something with them other than throw them in landfill. Among alternative uses people have found for old tyres is to use them for building walls for houses. It's not as crazy as is sounds: filled with soil, tyre walls are durable and provide good insulation.
Now, the development of a new ultra-fine crumb rubber having unique properties has been incorporated into a tile, opening up new product opportunities for the end uses of recycled rubber.
The Airport Business Centre (ABC) managed the trial and worked with Crumb Rubber Ltd and Queen Mary University in London to produce the tile.
The objective of the project was to investigate the behaviour of various common waste plastics when blended with rubber powder derived from post-consumer tyres. The trial involved the research and development of indicative test moulding to show the potential of this compound for commercialisation and the creation of a new replica slate roofing tile incorporating a high percentage of recycled material.
Now that the innovative tile research has been proven, WRAP are supporting standard testing to provide accreditation for its use in the marketplace, offering benefits for the housing sector, which is increasingly being asked to improve sustainability credentials. Once the tiles have been commercialised they will offer homebuilders a new sustainable opportunity and Quick Win to meet minimum recycled content requirements.
Ted Pederson, Technical Director at the Airport Business Centre, said:
"The support and advice that WRAP provides has been vital to the success and progress of our used tyres research and development trial. This trial has enabled us to advance the use of ultra fine vulcanised crumb rubber that is derived from post consumer truck tyres, into a new composite roofing slate.
"There is already a wide range of construction applications using tyre-derived material and this trial will open up a new market within construction. The research and development stage has enabled us to create a new formula for an innovative product, which we hope will create an additional market for recycled rubber from tyres. In the meantime, we are continuing to monitor the trial and develop the commercialisation of the product with support from WRAP."
Steve Waite, Project Manager for Tyres at WRAP, added:
"The material that can be broken down from used tyre rubber offers unique properties. These trials have demonstrated that ultra fine recycled rubber material is suitable for a variety of end uses. One of the main drivers for the WRAP Tyres Programme is to develop new markets for processed tyres and this rubber/plastic composite roof tile is an excellent example of newly created market opportunity."