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November 10, 2011

Ontario Tire Stewardship promotes recycled rubber in construction

Tired of stories on recycling in the construction industry?

Andrew Horsman isn’t.

Horsman is executive director of Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) , which is trying to raise awareness in the construction industry of the products available from recycled tires.

He said OTS, a not-for-profit industry-funding organization established under the Waste Diversion Act, is working with nine companies that make finished products, such as mulch for playgrounds and landscaping, plus crumb rubber.

Products derived from recycled tires include aggregate, roof shingles, rubber components for vehicles, soaker hoses and mouse pads.

Since the launch of the OTS used tires program in 2009, more than 125,000 tonnes of tires have been recycled in Ontario, rather than dumped in landfill or used for fuel, OTS stated in a press release.

Last summer, OTS announced the 25 millionth tire was recycled in Ontario.

“While Goal One was to make sure all of Ontario’s tires get recycled, the longer term strategic goal is really that market development side for the products that tires get made into,” Horsman said in an interview with the Daily Commercial News.

During its first year, OTS invested $23 million into the tire recycling industry in the province.

Although OTS does not count the number of tires recycled specifically from construction vehicles, it does keep track of broader categories, such as off-road vehicles.

“In 2010 total we managed approximately 17,000 tonnes of off-road tires,” Horsman said, adding that includes “everything from industrial, including forklift tires for indoor spaces, agricultural, loggers, skidders, road graders and mining equipment.”

That, he said, would be the equivalent of more than 1.7 million passenger car tires.

OTS reports the commercial tire recycling statistics by weight rather than number of tires, he said.

“We’re dealing with everything from the 50-kilogram small industrial tire all the way up to the 4,000-kilogram tire used on a mining truck.”

Horsman said to date this year, OTS is on track to exceed the amount of rubber recycled in the off-road category in 2010.

“As of July, which is the last month I have complete reporting for, we’re in and around 8,000 tonnes and the last quarter tend to be times when we see larger volumes,” he said.

“Companies tend to do the maintenance then because their equipment is perhaps a little more idle.”

Horsman said in the construction and resource industries, a large percentage of tires tend to be used more than once because they are re-treaded.

When OTS was launched, it was supported by various tire retailers, haulers, processors, collectors and recycled product manufacturers.

“What we found in the construction industry and in most off-road tire categories is awareness of the program has been a little bit slower to build than it has been among the average consumers, who may get their tires changed at a Canadian Tire or at a Wal-Mart,” Horsman said.

“Most equipment folks would have a fleet services partner who would provide an all-encompassing set of services for their tires. They didn’t necessarily see the issue with end-of-life tire management because they had a partner that was already there.”

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