New road surface from waste tyres being tested

A section of motorway has been laid out with a new surface made from waste tyres, as part of a trial from Highways England on more environmentally-friendly road surfaces.

The new surface is on the road between junctions 23 to 22 on the southbound carriageway of the M1 near Leicester and has been developed by Tarmac.

Some 40 million waste tyres are produced every year in the UK and over 500,000 disused tyres shipped out of the UK each year to be landfilled.

EU rules ban the disposal of tyres in landfill sites. Therefore the tyres generally go to the Middle East and Asia. There are over seven million tyres filling one Kuwaiti landfill site which is so vast that the ‘tyre graveyard’ is now visible from space.

Tarmac is believed to be the first company in the UK to have developed an asphalt technology which recycles tyres by adding granulated rubber to the mix.

It is estimated by Tarmac that up to 750 waste tyres could be used in every kilometre of road surfaced with the new material, depending on the thickness of the road.

The trial on the M1 will test the effective durability of the road surface on a highly trafficked network.

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