Just last week, rental car giant Hertz Corporation announced a partnership with Liberty Tire Recycling. According to a press release issued by the car rental company on November 8th, the two entities will work together to sustainably recycle of the approximately 160,000 rubber tires that the Hertz fleet goes through each calendar year. Apparently this is the first national tire recycling campaign for Hertz, and they allege that it is also a first for the car rental industry as a whole as well. In the press release, Hertz expressed pride in partnering with Liberty Tire Recycling due to the fact that they are the largest tire recycling company in North America.
Liberty’s website claims they are responsible for recycling more than a third of the tires that are discarded in the United States each year, which they say is approximately 110 million annually. After collecting the tires, the Pittsburgh-based company transforms them into a raw material that is eventually used in the construction of a variety of products with purposes varying from landscaping, flooring, and transportation. Hertz’s press release suggests that their tires will go a long way in contributing to this raw material, which they call recycled rubber feedstock. Some of the products made from the rubber feedstock include rubber mulch, safety mats, railroad cross ties, and asphalt.
Barely distinguishable from regular wood mulch, rubber mulch has a number of distinct advantages over its all natural counterpart. While wood is capable of carrying bacteria that cause allergies in animals and humans, rubber mulch is non-allergenic and also doesn’t grow mold or attract plant-harmful insects. As an additional advantage, the Hertz press release notes that rubber mulch lasts longer than wood mulch and is less likely to wash away in heavy rain.
The rubber from tires recycled by Liberty will also end up in the bouncy material found at the bottom of both outdoor play areas for children. Rubber mats and pads lessen the chance of an injury when kids fall at the playground, which as we all know—they often do.
While railroad crossties have historically been made of hardwood, new rubberized crossties made from recycled tires are a much greener solution. The rubber crossties eliminate the necessity of cutting down trees for the wood, and they also eliminate the use of the toxic preservative traditionally added to the wood in an effort to make it last as long as possible and to protect it from insect infestation.
The rubber feedstock will also be added to asphalt, which the press release says will make for a quieter ride. Additionally, rubberized asphalt lasts longer than regular asphalt and also requires less natural resources to be used in the construction of roads. In case you were curious, the release says that about 8,000 tires are used per mile, per lane to make rubberized asphalt.