Recycled Tire "Fluff" and "Crumb" Help the Environment
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Tara Weaver-Missick, (301) 504-1619, firstname.lastname@example.org
April 12, 1999
What should be done with the more than 265 million tires discarded each
year? Recycling would be the ideal solution, and Agricultural Research
Service scientists have found a way to do it. They extract the pulverized
rubber and polyester/nylon mixture from tires and divide it into two
separate materials. The polyester/nylon fiber is called fluff, and the
rubber material is called crumb.
Currently companies typically cut the tires into smaller pieces. The rubber
and polyester/nylon fiber are then pulverized using either a freezing
treatment and a hammer mill, or by grinding up the material. The companies
recover over 50 percent of the rubber from this process, but the remainder
is still sent to landfills. The rubber that is recovered is valued at about
$500 per ton.
Agricultural Engineer W. Stanley Anthony, head of ARS' Cotton Ginning
Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss., developed the new, improved process
based on cotton ginning technology. Anthony's two patent-pending methods
allow companies to also recover the fiber for a newly developing market. A
company that places 12 tons per day in a landfill could potentially turn
that into an additional $5,700 a day.
Products such as new tires, truck bed liners, running tracks, shoes, carpet
backing, brake pads and shoes, asphalt, water hoses, and floor mats can be
made from the recycled rubber. Several companies are considering licensing
ARS is USDA's chief research agency.
Scientific contact: W. Stanley Anthony, ARS Cotton Ginning Research Unit,
Stoneville, Miss., phone (601) 686-3094, fax (601) 686-5438,
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