This Startup Repurposes Waste Tires into Retaining Walls
Our modern car culture requires a lot of tires to keep it rolling, and because those tires don’t really last that long, hundreds of million of waste tires are generated every year, just in the US.
Some of those tires get used for retreads, and then go back out on the road, and some are recycled into ground rubber products, but a huge amount of them (about 44% in the US) get burned as fuel. However, there’s another option for these so-called waste or scrap tires, and it doesn’t involve a lot of energy or major modification of the tires.
The ArmaTerra GeoTire technology puts waste tires back to work by using them as earth reinforcing (georeinforcing) materials in applications such as retaining walls, modular block walls, levees, and mechanically stabilized embankments. Contrasting with current georeinforcement methods, which can be expensive to produce, transport, and handle, the GeoTire solution uses an existing resource, the waste tires, to provide a long-lasting and less expensive alternative.
By using whole tires, side walls, and tire treads, with minimal modifications, the ArmaTerra technology can be used to replace metal- and polymer-based georeinforcing, while also keeping some of these waste tires from being sent to landfills or burned as fuel. The ArmaTerra solution can take advantage of the existing network of tire recyclers to source the waste tire material, while also providing these recyclers with a more profitable alternative than selling them for fuel or landfilling them.
This method of distributed supply can also greatly shorten the transport of georeinforcing materials, as the waste tires could be used near the point of collection, and because the GeoTire system doesn’t require large amounts of energy to manufacture, it can lessen the environmental impact of both the georeinforcement and the scrap tire industry. For their innovative approach to tire repurposing, ArmaTerra was named as the Western Region Winner for the Green Building category of the CleanTech Open last year.
ArmaTerra is currently in a crowdfunding phase with a campaign on Indiegogo, where the company is raising money to secure international patents and to commercialize and scale up its unique solution. In keeping with the spirit of tire repurposing, backers of the project will receive awards such as wallets, iPhone covers, backpacks, and more, made from upcycled bicycle tires.
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