Greening Community Spaces
Supporting the use of recycled rubber products in Ontario communities has been another focus for OTS. The Community Renewal Fund program has challenged communities to think green when planning their local projects and provided them with financial support to choose sustainable materials made from recycled tires. Since the creation of the Community Renewal Fund program, more than 85 community projects across the province have been awarded funding to improve their need-to-be renewed public spaces, such as playgrounds and fitness centres.
By using recycled rubber products, communities are finding unique, sustainable solutions to enhance their spaces while strengthening Ontario's economy. A unique project recently completed was a parking lot and walkway in King City, Ontario.
The King City Heritage and Cultural Centre was looking for an environmentally friendly way to manage water run-off issues. The township took advantage of the grant to redesign its parking lot and walking path using recycled rubber bricks. What makes this project unique is the modular grid system that was used to hold the rubber bricks. It's called Ecoraster and it is made from recycled plastic bags, therefore combining two recycled products, each designed using repurposed materials that might otherwise end up in landfills.
In King City, rubber bricks were laid in a cobblestone-style pattern to provide a permeable surface, allowing water to flow through rather than pooling and potentially damaging the surface. The King City project is part of a pilot to test the recycled rubber product for potential installation across the township.
Helping Consumers Make Eco-Friendly Choices
Working in partnership with key retailers, OTS has also supported recycled rubber product retail rebates in an effort to encourage consumers to consider recycled rubber materials and help grow the market for goods made from retired tires. Used tires contain valuable materials such as rubber, steel and polyester fibres that are recycled into innovative green products that are not only sustainable, but perform better than the traditional ones they replace.
Delivering on our mandate of developing and a growing a robust and successful long-term recycling industry in Ontario, OTS's Retail Rebate program helped Ontario consumers make environmentally sustainable choices. The in-store program at Lowe's offered cost savings on recycled tire products such as garden borders and edging, rubber mulch and landscape tiles.
It has been through programs like this that OTS has helped support the growth of Ontario manufacturing and has encouraged innovation in the sector, spurring new investment and jobs in the province.
Crumb Rubber for RMA
As we consider how recycled rubber will be used in the future, a significant market opportunity exists in Ontario for the expanded use of rubber-modified asphalt (RMA).
The use of crumb rubber as a modifier in asphalt is an excellent example of creating a sustainable end-of-life option for used tires while delivering a product that is superior to its traditional counterpart. Globally, we are already seeing cities, states and national governments specifying the use of RMA on their roadways - and for good reason. The use of RMA offers a sustainable market for rubber recovered from scrap tires, but even more importantly, it is environmentally friendly, durable and performs in both hot and cold climates. It also provides improved noise reduction, better driving conditions, increased durability and proves to be a more cost-effective long-term option for roadways across the province.
Despite all these benefits, RMA is just starting to gain traction in Canada. Through 2018, we continue to focus our efforts to develop a market for RMA in Ontario.
It's heartening to see the many ways that OTS has helped build a legacy to bring sustainable, market-driven benefits to Ontario in just eight years. We are proud of the work we have done alongside our industry partners to support the tire recycling industry and create a circular economy where tires are no longer seen as waste, but as a resource that can be repurposed in new ways.
This article was originally published in Recycling Product News, Volume 26, Number 1, January/February 2018.