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Tired of Waste

We have previously reported on many green initiatives related to building and roadway materials: smog-eating cement, concrete that can heal itself when it detects cracks, and pavement with solar-storing technology.

Now, civil engineers at Purdue University are working to design a cost-effective mixture for road construction and bridge support.

The lightweight mixture is composed of shredded tires and sand, and it is useful for supporting the area of roads and bridges that bears a majority of the weight or pressure, especially those areas built over soft, weak soil deposits. The mix can also be used as backfill behind retaining walls and to strengthen slopes prone to landslides.

According to a 2007 EPA report, 7.5 million tons of rubber end up as waste every year, most of it from vehicle tires. And only around 35 percent of tires are recycled. The Indiana Department of Transportation has used the new mixture on nine different projects and so far 1.1 million tires have been put to use, resulting in a material cost saving of $1.2 million.

On top of that, because the mix is more easily compacted than other materials, it uses less energy. And that’s a money-saver too.

Image: vagawi / flickr

4 Responses to “Tired of Waste”

  1. YES! used tires are a big problem for the future of the environment. We have to take this matter seriously. This here is a good idea. Congratulations.

  2. I agree that waste is a big problem. However, perhaps the negatives of using recycled tires should also be noted. Studies indicate that there is risk involved from the out-gassing and leaching of toxins into the environment, some of which are carcinogens or destructive to mucous membranes. Further studies should be conducted to fully understand the potential impact on humans and wildlife prior to promoting this use for recycled tires as a good solution.

  3. Interesting insights – thanks for sharing!

  4. Can you lay foundations with this stuff??

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