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< prev - next > Waste management Recycling KnO 100397_recycling rubber (Printable PDF)
Recycling of Rubber
Practical Action
In developing countries, there is a culture of reuse and recycling. Waste collectors roam
residential areas in large towns and cities in search of reusable articles. Some of the
products that result from the reprocessing of waste are particularly impressive and the levels
of skill and ingenuity are high. Recycling artisans have integrated themselves into the
traditional market place and have created a viable livelihood for themselves in this sector. The
process of tyre collection and reuse is a task carried out primarily by the informal sector.
Tyres are seen as being too valuable to enter the waste stream and are collected and put to
In Karachi, Pakistan, for example, tyres are collected and cut into parts to obtain secondary
materials which can be put to good use. The beads of the tyres are removed and the rubber
removed by burning to expose the steel. The tread and sidewalls are separated the tread is
cut into thin strips and used to cover the wheels of donkey carts, while the sidewalls are used
for the production of items such as shoe soles, slippers or washers (WAREN Report).
Figure 2: Manual Separation of the Tread from the Sidewalls, Karachi, Pakistan
Recovery of rubber
Recovery Alternatives
There are many ways in which tyres and inner tubes can be reused or reclaimed. The waste
management hierarchy dictates that re-use, recycling and energy recovery, in that order, are
superior to disposal and waste management options. This hierarchy is outlined in Table 3
Kind of recovery
Product reuse
Material reuse
Physical reuse
Recovery process
Use as weight
Use of form
Use of properties
Use of volume
Tearing apart
Processing to crumb