When it comes to tires, it’s time to start thinking about the switch from summer to winter wheels, but for two Alberta companies, when it comes to tires the “switch” means they are completely transformed.
Eco-Flex turns tires into a crumb and makes entirely new products, things like industrial walkways, curb ramps and even rumble strips.
“We recycle close to 80 million tires. Through the plant (we do) about 4.5 million tires a year,” Eco-Flex’s Alan Champagne said.
Champagne is behind the Sturgeon County-based company’s latest innovation: the eco-wall. The company says it’s the first recycled rubber fence in Canada.
“It’s a sound barrier, so it deadens the sounds coming off of the highway,” Champagne said.
“Since it’s all made from rubber, the longevity is 50 to 100 years. There’s no maintenance, no staining, you put it up and it’s there.”
This is not the only Alberta company keeping tires out of landfills. Euroshield, based in Calgary, uses recycled tires to make shingles. They claim it’s the last roof you’ll ever need to buy.
“The reason that you don’t want a tire in the landfill is that it doesn’t break down, the exact same reason why you would want to put it on your roof,” Euroshield’s Chris Kinnee said.
“Imagine your tire getting hit by a hail stone. It has a lot of impact resistance, and essentially our product is year-old tires,” Kinnee said. “The impact resistance of the rubber, plus the composition of how we make it, our product is solid all the way through.”
According to Alberta School of Business Chair in Free Enterprise Joel Gehman, these companies have elements of a circular economy, benefiting both the environment and their bottom line.
“It’s the re-employment of what would otherwise be a waste stream,” Gehman said. “Both of them are recreating products that are at least as durable, if not more durable than the kinds of products that they’re trying to replace.
“In an ideal scenario, to close the loop, we would like to see those products recycled yet again”