Rubber is malleable and absorbs sound well. Road builders in the USA have long seen its advantages, but here its use in roads here has been limited. This may soon change. Highways England is currently trialling a new road surface made from a mix of asphalt and rubber from recycled tyres.
This new surface has been developed by Tarmac. The sustainable building materials company estimates that up to 750 waste tyres could be used in every kilometre of road.
Tarmac says that the UK exports around 120,000 tonnes of waste rubber each year, including used tyres. Brian Kent, technical director at Tarmac, notes that while plastic recycling gains media attention, used tyres remain a significant and overlooked waste stream. “Our new innovative rubber modified asphalts offer a more sustainable option for our industry and the environment.”
The current trial on the southbound carriageway of the M1 (between junctions 22 and 23) follows trials with Coventry City Council. The council is apparently “delighted” with the rubberised asphalt and, according to a representative, hopes to “use more of the product across the city in the future.”