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About UNEP
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United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
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Newsletter and Technical Publications
<Municipal Solid Waste Management>

Sound Practices
Special wastes

1.7.4 Tires

Sound practices for handling tires
  • Reuse through retreading for extended service; shredding and grinding for use in road paving material; and cutting them up for use as padding in playgrounds and buffers on railway tracks. It should be noted that processing of tire materials must be done under controlled conditions as it generates dust and buffings, which may be carcinogenic to workers and are potentially dangerous when released.
  • Thermal destruction in cement kilns with consequent energy recovery. This system requires adapting cement kilns to receive solid fuels. However, once this is done, this form of final disposal of tires has shown to be practical in developing countries.
  • Processing in pyrolytic ovens. Emissions control systems are critical as organic vapors are generated. As a result, the process can be relatively expensive and will become cost-effective only when the accumulation of tires becomes hazardous due to potential fires or expensive due to conflicting land use.

 

Auto Tires at Dump Site
Few auto tires currently reach dump sites in most developing countries, but the situation may change with the great increase in vehicles.
(credit: Chris Furedy)

Used tires pose a dilemma for even the most sophisticated MSWM system. Tires consist of complex polymeric materials with a high chemical value added; the recovery of this value added in any form is both energy- intensive and hazardous. Stockpiles of used tires can easily and rapidly grow, creating not only land use problems but also environmental hazards. Stockpiles can self-ignite and create long-lasting fires resulting in negative human health impacts.

When tires are landfilled, they often rise to the top and make it difficult to maintain the soil cover over the wastes.

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