It is no secret that the world has a problem with too many used automotive tires. There have been many good uses for them, and even more ideas are currently being thought up. But, unfortunately, there have been some stinkers, too. For instance, using tires as artificial underwater reefs for marine life. As this story on Yahoo attests, these reefs have proven to be nothing short of a disaster. It is not as if we haven't tried, New Jersey especially attempted three different methods of using the old tires in this way. Unfortunately, however, none of them proved successful.
So, what to do with the old tires, if not sink them in the ocean? The best use of used tires for the environment would be to chop them up and recycle them into new products. This is being done, but there are just too many tires and not enough new products that can be made from them; recycled tires are not suitable for use in new tires, unfortunately. Across the world, many of the tires are burned for fuel. This is not a good solution, environmentally speaking. According to this site, "A 21-pound tire contains only five pounds of petroleum-based synthetic rubber. The rest is natural rubber, steel belts and bead wire, carbon black, cloth and a mix of other chemicals which do not contribute significantly to the heating value of an incinerated tire. Burning tires for fuel also reclaims only a small portion of the energy it takes to produce a tire."
The truth of the matter is that there is no real solution to the glut of used tires worldwide. The best we can hope for is that science comes up with more and more ways to recycle them or reduce them to their original compounds. Maybe flying cars are not such a bad idea? Just kidding.
[Source: Yahoo News and Ohio DNR]