Scientists in Hamilton say they have found a way to dissolve the rubber used in car tires, which could help keep what is typically a single-use item out of landfills.
In a study released today, researchers at McMaster University say their method could reduce the environmental and safety hazards related to stockpiled tires.
They say the properties that make tires durable on the road also make them difficult to break down and repurpose, so most end up in landfills and storage facilities, eventually leaching contaminants into the environment.
The new process, however, allows old tires to be turned into new products, potentially new tires.
The chemists say it works by breaking the sulfur-to-sulfur bond in the tire material.
They note, however, that the process is expensive for industrial applications.
“This is the first major step,” Michael Brook, the study’s lead author and a professor in the department of chemistry and chemical biology at McMaster, said in a statement.