It’s a fact of life that whatever we do and whatever we use always has an effect on something somewhere, no matter how we look at it.
We are a consumer nation, and everything we use and consume has to end up somewhere. Most things nowadays can be recycled. Things such as glass, paper and cardboard, no problem, the list goes on. But unfortunately there are many thing we use such as electrical goods and rubber products that we find hard to recycle. Mainly because of the time and money that has to be spent processing them. In the past, most of these products have ended up in landfills and are left for the next generations to deal with. I know, it’s one of the sad facts of this economy. But there is hope. In the last 10 years or so, more studies and experiments are going in to the reuses and recycling of such products.
One of the more interesting aspects of this new voyage into a recycling age is the recycling of rubber products, especially rubber tires. Rubber is a natural product obtained from the milky white fluid called latex, found in many plants. Synthetic rubbers are produced from unsaturated hydrocarbons. For almost millennia, the native South Americans were using rubber to produce a number of water-resistant products. In the 18th century European manufacturers began to use rubber successfully on a commercial basis when, in1823, British inventor and chemist Charles Macintosh established a plant in Glasgow for the manufacture of waterproof and rainproof clothes with which his name has become famous.
Then came another major breakthrough. In the mid-19th century a process was developed called vulcanization. This process gave increased strength, elasticity, and resistance to changes in temperature. It also makes rubber impermeable to gases and resistant to heat, electricity, chemical action and abrasion.
So what now? Where left with a highly robust, imperishable material that could potentially cause problems for the future, but this need not be the case. Since the invention of the rubber tire, man has always had problems with disposing of them, in most cases they end up in mass graveyards, stockpiles of rubber tires further than the eye can see. Tire stockpiles create a massive health and safety risk. They pose a huge threat and most often Tire Fires can occur, burning for months, creating substantial pollution in the air and ground. Eventually various methods where introduced that would most defiantly cut the disposal of rubber, some more efficient than others. But these methods consisted mainly of reusing rubber, not actually recycling or reprocessing it. So as good as it was, it didn’t actually solve the problem.
More tires where still being manufactured. So now you’ve got to think “what is going to happen to all this rubber” The answer is simple, we have to recycle it. Instead of creating more rubber, why not use the rubber that we already have. Processes such as crumbing rubber, now enable it to be used for new rubber products or even plastic products. It’s such a process that is used to create reinforced high density rubber flooring. A prime example of what can be done with recycled rubber. So take note, there is hope for the future with knowing there is an almost simple solution to what might seem like one of the greatest problems facing future generations.