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Trash to Treasure: Creative Housing Solutions Combat Climate Change

Informa Markets Shredded Tire displays their product at the International Roofing Expo in New Orleans.
Waste tires are a major source of pollution, with many eventually finding their way to cement plants to be burned. One company is putting a dent into that cycle by using waste tires to make safe housing with roofing systems.

The march toward sustainable models has been at almost a fever pitch since the world agreed to reduce global emissions at the Glasglow Climate Change Conference, but many entrepreneurs in the building supplies industries have already been heeding the call.

Richard Spreen is the founder and president of Shredded Tire, a young company that seeks to revolutionize the way homes and roofs are constructed across the planet.

“We make construction blocks from waste, waste tires and mostly waste cements,” said Spreen, who has also operated the Florida based company Decktight Roofing Services, Inc. for over 30 years. “And these blocks are very tough. They’re in testing right now to have a hurricane shelter rating.”

Spreen represented Shredded Tire at January’s World of Concrete show in Las Vegas and at February’s International Roofing Expo in New Orleans.

“We’re from Miami, so we’re very familiar with codes and hurricanes, but (the blocks) do more than that, they clean the world’s stockpiles of tires,” Spreen said.

According to Shredded Tire’s website, in the seven years the company has existed they’ve recycled over 48,000 tires and now hold patents in countries across the world, with additional patents pending.  

Spreen is ambitious and said Shredded Tire’s building and roofing system can be utilized all around the world.

“Most of the tires that are discarded in the world end up, at some point, at cement plants and paper mills to be burned for fuel, causing even more pollution,” he said. “So it’s my personal mission to see Shredded Tire batching plants throughout the world making Shredded Tire blocks.”

Spreen said the hopes Shredded Tire’s blocks will go on to make millions of affordable and safe homes for the most disadvantaged populations in the world.

“And we’re doing to do it all without cutting down a single tree,” he said.

Shredded Tire’s website explains the transformation the takes a waste tire into a durable building block.

The process first includes mulching a waste tire and sending the excess metal from the tire to a recycler. Shredded Tire then takes the tire mulch, which includes nylon strands, and blends it with portland cement and waste slag to achieve 87 percent recycled content levels.

After adding water, the company claims that “an indestructible block is formed that will last for thousands of years.”

In addition, the company claims their blocks get stronger with age, are fire-rated, are natural insulators, moisture-resistant, mold-resistant, bug-resistant and rot resistant.

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