Reverse Polymerization: A Modern Way to Recycle Used Tires

Recycling Tires in UtahWhen it comes to getting rid of old tires, shares that Americans don’t just throw them away. They recycle them. In fact, a report from the US Environmental Protection Agency mentioned that out of the 290 million tires produced in a year, people recycled at least 230 million.

Conventional Ways of Recycling Tires

A common method for recycling used tires is to take the metal out from the rubber, shred the rubber, and then break it up into different sizes of pellets used in various manufacturing processes. Another option is to manufacture new tires out of the liquefied used-tire rubber using the process known as vulcanization.

While certainly effective recycling methods, they aren’t necessarily environmentally friendly. For instance, tire incineration releases various toxins into the environment such as hydrogen chloride, benzene, and formaldehyde. To make the recycling of tires more eco-friendly, scientists are currently developing an environmentally friendly and efficient process called Reverse Polymerization.

Understanding Reverse Polymerization

Reverse Polymerization is a process that uses microwaves to break tires into their base elements. The microwaves pass through a tunnel filled with nitrogen and inhibit the formation of hazardous gases like furans and dioxins that can develop when oxygen is present. A tire that undergoes this process will produce byproducts such as hydrocarbon gas, oil, steel, and carbon black.

Environmental Benefits of Reverse Polymerization

Reverse Polymerization eliminates carbon dioxide emissions which contribute to global warming. In addition, the Environmental Waste International says that the method allows people to reclaim almost 100% of the tire’s components, leaving almost nothing to waste. Plants using Reverse Polymerization can capture hydrocarbon gas and use it for energy generation, and make it self-sustaining.

Although still in the prototype stage, countries all over the world are expressing their interest in the Reverse Polymerization technology. People can expect more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to reuse their old tires in the future if the prototype lives up to expectations.