Tires deteriorate in quality over time, and so, millions of rubbers are scrapped each year which poses a serious and dangerous threat to our environment. To counteract this problem, researchers have discovered how to make tires out of more environment-friendly materials: eggshells and tomato peels.
Food Wastes as Rubber Fillers
Have you ever thought of making tires out of your kitchen wastes? Thankfully, researchers from the Ohio State University did, and they are successful at looking for an alternative tire filler.
The study published in the Journal of Polymers and the Environment detailed how food wastes are good sources for tire fillers. It was Katrina Cornish who spearheaded the search for new sources of rubber and products to enhance it. When she arrived in Ohio in 2010, food wastes were the first things she looked at.
Cornish shares how she got in touch with many food processors in the state where they received 35 different types of waste, among them are eggshells and tomato peels. According to Cornish, she was really interested in studying tomato peels even before, since she often saw them in produce trucks in California.
She thought they must have “thick, tough skins so the ones on top didn’t squash the ones on the bottom.” Cornish was initially doubtful with the eggshell since it is mostly made up of calcium carbonate. However, she was delighted to be proven wrong after they discovered the eggshells’ porous architecture.
These food wastes are confirmed to be excellent rubber fillers which are combined with rubber in order to make rubber more composite. The researchers’ work on the food wastes could replace carbon black, a petroleum-based filler.
A Green Position
Aside from being fillers, there are more positive effects of using food wastes. The search for clean fuel sources are potentially achieved with eggshells and tomato peels, along with the following problems solved:
- Reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil
- Get more space from food wastes in landfills
- Make tire production with rubber more sustainable
Food wastes can also resolve the increase of tire manufacturing which calls for more rubber fillers where 30 percent of American tires make use of carbon black. This filler with carbon black, in turn, has increasingly become difficult to obtain.
On the other hand, food wastes can be easily acquired. Over 80 billion eggs are cracked open each year as per the United Egg Producers where they just sit uselessly in landfills. Tomato peels are easily procured since the majority of the 15 million tons of tomatoes grown in the U.S. are canned or processed with their skin discarded. using these wastes open up space in landfills, properly processing them could also battle climate change.
Therefore, using eggshells and tomato peels as rubber fillers can address many issues without being less effective as they retain flexibility while maintaining strength compared to conventional fillers.