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New Technology Uses Eco-Friendly Food Waste to Make Tires

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Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a patent-pending technology for incorporating food waste into rubber (Kenneth Chamberlain/The Ohio State University)
Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a patent-pending technology for incorporating food waste into rubber (Kenneth Chamberlain/The Ohio State University)

 

According to Ohio State University researchers, food waste can be turned into tires.

More specifically, food waste can substitute for carbon black, the petroleum-based filler that is a key component in tire manufacturing. In tests led by Ohio State researcher Katrina Cornish, eggshells and tomato peels were found to be viable replacements for carbon black, which is an increasingly scarce resource.

Those eggshells and tomato peels would be harvested from landfills, where they’re dumped by commercial food factories, and would be a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to fillers bought from overseas.

Here, dried and ground tomato skins (top) and eggshells (bottom) are shown after coarse, medium, and fine processing before being added to rubber (Kenneth Chamberlain/The Ohio State University)
Here, dried and ground tomato skins (top) and eggshells (bottom) are shown after coarse, medium, and fine processing before being added to rubber. (Kenneth Chamberlain/The Ohio State University)

 

Aside from convenience, these articles of food waste have unique manufacturing upsides. Eggshells are packed with minerals, and their porous microstructures interact well with rubber. Tomato peels, which have been grown with thickness in mind for decades, are durable and highly stable at high temperatures.

The rubber produced with eggshell and tomato waste fillers not only exceeds industrial performance standards, it’s more flexible than carbon black rubber. Knowing that, other applications for rubber that weren’t possible or cost-effective before may be viable now.

RealClearLife