There are several types of rubber recycling, each with its own rubber recycling equipment. For example, in many poorer countries, rubber is recycled by hand, and the tools used are simple: shears, knives, awls, tongs, and hammers. Using these simple methods, one can recycle rubber tires into shoes, sandals, plant pots, buckets, doormats, water containers, bicycle pedals, and dustbins. Some industrious individuals make planters from old tires just by using knives and cutting a design into the sidewall an old tire.
However, in more developed countries, rubber recycling is a highly specialized process, using more sophisticated rubber recycling equipment. For example, rubber can be turned into granules by use of a shredder, for use as landscaping mulch, playground mulch and other landscaping articles, such as tree surrounds and yard borders. One eco-friendly company uses a sheet rubber made from recycled car tire crumbs to make fashion accessories, such as purses, tote bags, messenger bags, evening bags, key fobs, writing portfolios, bracelets, and even a shaving kit! They note that the main point of doing so is to keep tires from ending up taking up space in landfills.
Rubber recycling equipment has been invented that can deal with the special needs of recycling the tires of today. Most tires are steel-belted, and the rubber in them is vulcanized and needs specialized processing. One of the newer technologies for processing rubber is cryogenic grinding. In normal grinding, rubber is soft and unable to be ground to a very fine consistency. Rubber recycling equipment that uses the process of cryogenic grinding renders the rubber brittle, after which it can be ground very fine. This increases the number of ways that rubber can be re-used in our homes, companies, schools, and more.
In the past, before the advances in rubber recycling equipment and the way that scrap tires could be re-used, some municipalities burned scrap tires. While the spread of disease carrying mosquitoes may have been stymied, air pollution skyrocketed. Toxins in the rubber were released not only into the air, but settled onto plants, trees, and people in these areas. Rubber recycling equipment has eliminated the need for such measures.
Rubber recycling equipment makes it possible to recycle products that are not destroyed by natural means, such as biodegradable. Unlike other recyclable materials, rubber will never break down into it’s original components. If newspapers are discovered still readable in landfills after 50 years, who can say what our great-great grandchildren will find in our own? By making full use of rubber recycling equipment we can extend the use of scrap rubber while protecting our environment.