Did you know that most of the products we refer to as being rubber aren’t actually “real” rubber? Real, natural rubber comes from the rubber tree most commonly found in countries like India, Indonesia and Thailand. To make natural rubber, also called gum rubber, the rubber tree is tapped to release latex, a light, milky substance that is refined into natural rubber sheets.
The rubber you most likely think of when you hear the term is black, dense, but still has some elasticity. This type of rubber is actually synthetic rubber made from petroleum byproducts. It’s used in a variety of products we use in everyday life, with one of the most significant being tires. With how many tires the world requires to keep up with the demands of modern transportation, you can only imagine what sort of impact this has on the world’s petroleum supply.
To help with this problem, solutions have been found to give old tires new life instead of just taking up space in a landfill. Recycled rubber is used for a variety of products like fill for field turf and playgrounds, wheel chocks, boat dock bumpers and more. But aside from these, there’s another major use for recycled rubber that you may have never considered: highways.
That’s right. In certain regions, you might not only be driving on synthetic rubber tires, but also on highways made from those same tires. Using this recycled product in the construction of highways has actually proven to create a better infrastructure. Incorporating recycled rubber with asphalt produces a longer lasting surface, less required maintenance, shorter breaking distances, and lower road noise, which is essential for highways intersecting residential areas.
To be used in a highway application, synthetic rubber first has to be shredded and reduced to what is often called “crumb rubber” and then incorporated with asphalt. In addition to being part of the actual road material, recycled rubber can also be used as a seal coat or spray for roads as well.
Consuming approximately 12 million tires, asphalt rubber is the market leader for recycled rubber. California and Arizona in the USA are the biggest consumers of asphalt rubber, using this product for 80% of highways throughout the state.
At ECO Green Equipment, we specialize in making tire recycling equipment that makes it easy for others to recycle synthetic rubber tires into material that can be used elsewhere—like highways in this case. Our equipment helps companies utilize tire recycling technology to create better business and a more eco-friendly planet.