It’s a lot of rubber!
Alberta’s tire recycling program has reached a significant milestone: 100 million tires have been recycled since the program’s inception in 1992.
“This achievement shows Albertans’ commitment to protecting the environment is stronger than ever,” says Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks. “It means that in every community there is a determination to do the right thing.”
Through the recycling program, valuable material is diverted from landfills and recycled, creating jobs and new products that come back full-circle into everyday use.
Alberta began one of the first tire recycling programs in Canada. It is very successful, with approximately six million tires recycled annually.
Alberta Recycling chair Bob Barss says the tires are recycled into sidewalk blocks, roofing tiles and playground surfaces.
“Albertans, municipalities, tire and vehicle retailers and the province’s recycling industry should be proud of this achievement and their contribution to eliminating tires from landfills and stockpiles. They have all played a key role in having those 100 million tires recycled,” says Barss.
There are 350 collection sites across Alberta set up by urban and rural municipalities, First Nations and Metis Settlements that accept tires for recycling. Since 2000, Alberta Recycling’s municipal grant programs have provided over $12 million to communities.
The recycling of 100 million tires was celebrated in Lethbridge Sept. 9 at the grand opening of the new playground at Gilbert Paterson Middle School. Rubber crumb made from scrap tires was used for the playground surface.
Environmental fees for tires range from $4 on car and light truck tires to $9 on large truck tires, and up to $200 for large industrial tires.
The fees are collected on the sale of new tires and the funds used to manage the provincial tire recycling program. Almost 85 per cent of the money is used to help collect the tires from every part of Alberta and process them into recycled tire material and products.
It is hard to imagine what 100 million tires means. Laid side-by-side, 100 million tires would circle the earth two times, which is equivalent to about 80,000 km.
And, 100 million tires weigh about one million tonnes, which is the same as 200,000 elephants or two million horses.