Articles

Putting Old Tires Back on Track

Finding new uses for old tires is a growing trend as the country seeks solutions for one of its tougher waste problems. Used tires have been among the largest and most problematic sources of waste because of the large volume produced -- 250 million generated in the U.S. each year -- and their durability.

In the case of Competition Athletic Surfaces, Inc. the common denominator is the use of recycled tires.

What does building running tracks have to do with producing electricity, making mulch and filtering wastewater?

In the case of Competition Athletic Surfaces, Inc. the common denominator is the use of recycled tires. Each year Competition Athletic Surfaces keeps the equivalent of over 20,000 used automobile tires from stacking up in landfills by using surfacing products made with recycled rubber for 20 athletic surfacing projects.

Used tires form part of the surface for the track at Chattanooga Christian School, the rooftop walking track at Unum Group and the indoor track at the new Siskin Fitness Center, among other projects, according to President Lee Murray.

Finding new uses for old tires is a growing trend as the country seeks solutions for one of its tougher waste problems. Used tires have been among the largest and most problematic sources of waste because of the large volume produced -- 250 million generated in the U.S. each year -- and their durability.

Historically, these scrap tires took up space in landfills or provided breeding grounds for mosquitoes and rodents when stockpiled or illegally dumped.

And although tires themselves are not considered hazardous waste, these dumps sometimes caught fire and might burn for months before they could be extinguished, creating enormous volumes of toxic air pollution, oil and heavy metals. The tire pile fires are dangerous and highly polluting and clean up afterwards is very expensive.

But since 1992, when there were one billion scrap tires piled up around the US, today there are only a few hundred thousand. Indeed, these days 75 percent of all used tires find new life. One reason is the state grant programs that have generated dozens of new uses for old tires, from rubber-based mulch in Colorado to Connecticut power plants that blend scrap tires with other fuels to make electricity.

Murray says old tires have found new use as track surfaces for at least 20 years. The rubber modified material is less expensive than other surface materials, he says. "And even though it doesn't supply the sponginess that some clients demand, recycled tires make a good entry level resilient track surface. The surface is slightly harder than surfaces made with virgin rubber products but many high schools find the slightly harder surface meets their requirements."

In fact, of reclaimed tires, almost eight percent are converted into ground rubber and recycled into products, like the resilient surfaces for the tracks Competition Athletic Surfaces builds and resurfaces.

And as more and more businesses think green, Murray finds that customers are pleased to lope around the track or lob one over the net on retreads.

Competition Athletic Surfaces, Inc. builds, resurfaces and repairs tennis courts, running tracks and other athletic surfaces throughout the southeastern United States.

The staff has a combined 50 years of experience in the athletic surfaces industry while working on nearly every type of surface, including resilient track surfaces, standard hard court surfaces, cushioned hard court surfaces and synthetic turf surfaces. www.competitionathleticsurfaces.com.

Copyright © 2018 Competition Athletic Surfaces. Website Design by 7 Weight.