Car Tires – A Growing Environmental Problem
Have you ever wondered what fate awaits a used car tire once you are done with it? I have never had a driving license or owned a car in my life, so it was not something I thought about much until I was asked to do some research for BODO UK about car tires and began searching for information. Right at the very beginning of BODO, the team decided that they wanted to include some kind of recycled product in the design of the sandal, in order to do something for the environment as well as for people in dire need of footwear, and it wasn’t long before they decided to use recycled car tires.
I’d always heard the mumblings on the green scene as to how much of a giant environmental problem they pose, but I didn’t realize just how bad it was until very recently.
I started looking into facts and figures on the subject, and the information I found left me startled and amazed. According to the Environment Agency’s website more than 100,000 used tires are taken off UK vehicles EVERY DAY, and this is number is always on the increase because number of people who own vehicles is always growing!!! I’m sat here, just trying to picture exactly how much space 100,000 tires would take up and I’m finding it rather difficult.
Because of the sheer amount of space that the mass of tires take up and the fact that they do not decompose naturally, a 2003 EU Landfill Directive banned the dumping of tires in landfills. A further directive was brought out in 2006, issuing a ban on shredded tires going to landfill too!
So, now where do we put them all? I wondered, as I again tried to imagine where I would put 100,000 used tires each day! Illegal fly-tipping has become a major environmental problem and costs the UK taxpayer more that £2million a year in clean-up bills. Since the landfill bans, there has also been the appearance of a type of ‘scam company’ who offer private landowners money to ‘temporarily’ store tires for them. This type of company will then inevitably vanish, leaving the landowner having to payout to have the tires removed legally, which always costs them considerably more than they were initially paid, and often leaves them bankrupt or in severe financial difficulty!
Since the landfill bans, numerous ingenious ways to recycle car tires have been put into practice by some entrepreneurial types, these include using them to create the surface for children’s playgrounds and roads, for footwear, and one company even uses the rubber derived from tires to make stationary. But it is not nearly enough, the world has a long way to go in order to deal with the problem posed by the sheer amount of car tires we get through!
That is why the BODO UK team decided to use recycled car tires to make their sandal, and while we realize, what we are doing isn’t going to solve the global issue with car tires, it will surely help, and would go some way towards making the BODO sandal one of the most ethical shoes on the market!