Erm, why?

Unlike plastic waste, there is a ready market for used tyres within the UK. They are – or were – compressed into tight blocks to make road foundations, embankments and drainage beds. It’s not the closed-loop recycling that should be applied to everything we consume, let alone the radical reduction in the use of materials required to prevent environmental breakdown.

Doesn’t rubber grow on trees? You know, it’s a renewable resource?

19 comments on “Erm, why?

  1. Used tyres – vulcanised rubber, carbon black, wires and textile – are a pain to dispose of (don’t rot, burn really nastily), so finding something to do with them other than incineration or landfill might be useful if the benefit outweighs the cost.

    No problem at all getting fresh latex until the evil capitalists cut down all the forests (because evil capitalists do that, because they’re capitalists and therefore evil)

    The problem here is that Indian businessmen have found they can get more money for recycling old tyres into oil, than into paving blocks.

    Maybe that means we need a Pigou tax to make sure the externalities of the process are factored in… but is that our problem or India’s? Didn’t they get very vehement about becoming independent so foreigners would stop telling them what to do?

  2. The French have been using shredded car tyres to supplement their road foundations for at least 40 years. Firms in India are preparing waste plastic to use in their road building – apparently, a company in Scotland is trying to do the same and screaming for investment, which the Scottish government appears loathe to do.
    Years ago, we would watch Raymond Baxter introducing “Tomorrow’s World”, showing similar innovative steps, which often led to big business or government becoming involved.
    Perhaps Jeremy Clarkson would be the person to introduce a tv exploration of this? After all, he appears to use the roads more than any other living person in the world!
    As far as the Grundiag article is concerned, selective reporting seems to be the order of the day. However, if true, at least they’re burning tyres and not widows.

  3. “There is no data on the contribution made by tyre pyrolysis plants, but it is doubtless significant.”

    I doubt it, so there. Case closed.

    Not really sure there is a much of a market for old tyres, as a garage owning pal of mine has to pay to have them taken away.

  4. +Andrew C yes for many years old tyres have been used in Africa to make flip-flop sandals. In addition we ground down the buggers to small beads which were then incorporated into the asphalt road dressing. I don’t know what happens now. The multitude of other compounds, steel, vinyl and what have you, probably make tyre disposal a small nightmare.

  5. The problem here is that Indian businessmen have found they can get more money for recycling old tyres into oil, than into paving blocks.

    Maybe that means we need a Pigou tax to make sure the externalities of the process are factored in… but is that our problem or India’s?

    I’m glad you asked that question, my friend.

    The obvious solution to pollution in India is for us to ban cars and wood stoves in Britain, and replace our nasty, affordable, efficient power stations with a few billion of those tiny plastic windmills you sometimes see on children’s bicycles.

    It’s the only way to solve all this Global Warming we’re having.

  6. “There is no data on the contribution made by tyre pyrolysis plants, but it is doubtless significant.”

    Science.

    No data? Hasn’t anyone even made some up yet?

  7. I read somewhere that recycled rubber from old tyres is shredded and used in Polytrack for all-weather horse-racing tracks.

  8. “Maybe that means we need a Pigou tax to make sure the externalities of the process are factored in… but is that our problem or India’s?”

    And their Pigou taxes are going to be different to ours because of how far they’re developed. You’ll accept pollution if you’re a farmer and that means you can run a tractor.

    Our Victorian factories were nasty dangerous places and everyone tried to go and work with them.

  9. Old tyres are recycled to make the surface for children’s playgrounds (less damage when kid falls down), but the demand is only a small fraction of supply.

  10. “there is a ready market for used tyres within the UK.”

    No there f*cking isn’t. It costs to have them taken you away you twat. People may then find a way of utilising them that makes them money, but no-one will dispose of them (legally) even for free, so there is no functioning market in used car tyres. They have negative value.

  11. I wonder why I keep seeing tyres on the sides of the road when I am out driving, if there is such a market for them

  12. ‘what will happen post-Brexit?’

    Every article in National Geographic Magazine MUST contain the term “climate change.”

    Every article in the Guardian must now include the phrase ‘what will happen post-Brexit?’

  13. Round here the cement mills burn them.

    The tyres are free, however the various environmental charges are the main cost of the whole business.

  14. Old tyres are a useful way of containing the mulch we throw over various delicate plants for the winter.

    Careful experimentation has yet to reveal whether cross-ply or radials are better.

  15. @Jim January 30, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    No there f*cking isn’t. It costs to have them taken you away you twat

    +1

    Even in early 80s tyres cost money to dispose of.

    We used to have Colway making good quality remoulds for road & off-road, cheap imports ended them.

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