Old tyres used to make footpaths that help water trees

New research from the University of Melbourne and Tasmanian company Merlin Site Services has found a way of recycling old tyres and using them to create urban paving that can provide water to nearby trees.

It follows a recent trial of the system at the University of Melbourne Campus which involved four different pavement recipes for different uses (footpaths, bike paths, carparks and low-volume traffic roads).

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The materials allow rainwater to soak down between the pavements, which will then be able to provide water for nearby trees.

The Tyre Stewardship Association funded research project is now investigating how viable using waste tyre products for footpaths is, and if it can even help irrigation and storm water management in urban areas.

Research will involve both laboratory and field testing through a pilot installation program to encourage the construction industry and local governments to use tyre-derived products.

Currently, 51 million used tyres are discarded each year, but only only five per cent are recycled locally.

According to TSA Market Development, Manager Liam O’Keefe, the aim of TSA investment in this research is to support the use of a very high percentage of TDP (up to 60 per cent) in permeable pavement products, providing another opportunity for sustainable management of end-of-life tyres to deliver new products and new jobs.