Friday, October 28, 2005

Making tracks

Like most small town boys, I grew up in a town without a track. This involves running 300 m laps around goal posts on worn grass trails and breathing in a lot of lime. But nowadays, this doesn’t need to be the case. Increasingly, more and more governments and tire companies are jumping on board a plan to recycle old tires into track surfaces.

Last April the California Integrated Waste Management Board allotted $1.6 million for Sacramento to build playground mats and track surfaces. In the process, tons of tires will escape landfills and stockpiles. The old, ground up tires provide a resurfacing that is more pliable, longer-lasting, and reduces injuries.

In New York the Take the Field organization dedicated a $2.5 million to a state-of-the-art, and environmentally friendly, athletic facility made from recycled car tires for Flushing High School, thanks to the support of Ford Motor Company. Each field is made from 25,000 tires, which are recycled into 300,000 pounds of crumbed rubber.

Nebraska had a similar initiative in May.

Nike has instigated a Reuse-A-Shoe program where it will create tracks out of ground up old sneakers. The program collects and recycles more than two million used athletic shoes each year by cleaning, cutting and grinding them up to create a material called Nike Grind.

The Detroit Lions Headquarters and Training Facility in Michigan is a completely green building, that uses recycled tires converted into flooring and carpeting. The ‘Astroturf’ on their training fields is made of recycled crumbled rubber from tires as well.

Between tire companies and government initiatives, there are plenty of opportunities to put all of these old tires back to good use.


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