As much as we’re all about living green and working towards considerably reducing one’s carbon footprint, the truth is it’s not like there’s some switch you can just flick and then suddenly you’re a shining example of green living. It is and ever-evolving process, in which the ecologically-minded of us endeavour to follow the core principles of greener living.
I recently went to visit a shopping centre and the inner green living champion in me came out fighting strong, simply because of so many examples I noticed with regards to people not seemingly pulling their weight as far as saving our planet goes. I’m talking about those people who are in a powerful position to affect some real change and not just window-dress with photos of themselves “committing” to some green initiatives. The particular shopping centre I went to had an excessive amount of neon-lit banners which were burning so bright during the day as well that it looked like I was actually visiting a scaled down version of the Las Vegas strip. But what really caught my attention was the sheer number of discarded tyres which seem to have been washed into the shopping centre’s resident body of water by the constant current that feeds into the lake.
That prompted me to want to explore just what the longest life-cycle of a tyre can be, particularly because tyres have proven to be one of those items which are rather challenging to recycle. Letting tyres wash down the river and eventually land up in lakes could perhaps make for one of the longest life-cycles of a tyre, but it certainly isn’t the greenest of paths for the tyres and it’s perhaps worth exploring alternative tyre life cycles. So, I set off to find out what the different life cycles can be and one of the best ones I came across was of a typical tyre being reused multiple times, for multiple purposes, before it’s finally destroyed or an attempt is made at recycling it.
Firstly, to avoid having to discard tyres sooner than necessary, one of the best solutions is to use run flat tyres, which allow you to use them for much longer (roughly 50 miles longer). The advancing technology that goes into making improved tyres, increases the cost a little, but the benefits to the owner are a huge advantage over standard tyres and also indirectly reduces the carbon emissions associated with the manufacture of tyres with a shorter lifespan.
Here’s where it gets interesting, as the prolonging of the life-cycle of tyres would see those with worn tread either re-treaded (professionally), or they could be used for secondary transportation purposes on agricultural vehicles such as trailers used on farms – there’s no risk to the “passengers” or cargo carried as the vehicle on which the tyres are used would be travelling at very low speeds.
Upcycling would then perhaps be the used tyres’ final stop before going to be destroyed or recycled, such as making sandal soles with the used tyres or using the tyres for some gardening decorations, for example.
It’s good to think on the various solutions available for making the life-cycle of tyres manageable in an environmentally friendly way so that none of them in future need spoil our lakes and beauty spots.