Recycled Tire Derived Products is a Big Business

Waste incinerator in Powell River series - #8

My daughter and son-in-law who live in Edmonton are considering installing and recycled tire derived patio. They seem most interested in the Eco-Flex system. So today, as visions of recycled wonders have been dancing in my head recently anyway, i started looking into recycled tires and the products they are being made into.

It's staggering, over 80% of the scrap tires collected are recycled into products. Most are recycled into crumb rubber, which are granules of rubber with the steel and fibre removed. Crumb is then used to create a variety of products including athletic tracks and synthetic turf fields; non-slip pavers for patios, walkways and playgrounds; colourful, resilient flooring in recreational facilities; flooring and mats for agricultural and industrial use; and asphalt rubber. Turns out recycled tire derived products is a big business.

Out here on the left-coast in BC almost all of our tires end up being handled through Tire Stewardship BC and have been for the last 20 years or so. Tire Stewardship BC is a not-for-profit society formed to manage BC's tire recycling program. The program collects an Advance Disposal Fee, commonly referred to as an eco fee, on the sale of every new tire. The fees are used to pay for transporting and recycling BC generated scrap tires ensuring that the tires are disposed of in environmentally responsible ways instead of ending up in our landfills. In fact, despite the ongoing tire fire in the Simpson's home town of Springfield, tires have been banned from landfills in almost every jurisdiction in N. America.

The process of shredding of tires is similar to that of mixed plastics except in scale. Tires seem to be handled almost exclusively by big-time operators perhaps in part because of how government regulations have tended to create centralized handling facilities [ours is in Richmond BC] that then, because of their size, tend to make deals with other large volume potential clients.

Anyway, every tire sold here in BC gets a $5 eco-fee added to its price at the point of sale to pay for its recycling. None-the-less for some reason Harold Long, owner of our local facility of Augusta Recyclers here in Powell River, charges an additional $3 fee for each tire brought to his place. A self described cynical friend i talked to about Harold's fee called it double dipping. There is definitely a program that is part of the Tire Stewardship Program that pays for tire 'generators' like Augusta but maybe poor ol' Harold just needs a few extra bucks, who knows.