Conveyor belts differ from one another so much that their working life varies from as little as few weeks to 10 years and longer. However, there still comes a point when a particular conveyor belt is no longer of use. We are taking a look at rubber belts, as rubber is one of waste products in the industry. The mining, stone and concrete industries have especially large volumes of old rubber which comes from tyres and old conveyor belts. Besides sending the rubber to landfill, you may find a few other uses for it. With some imagination it is possible to reduce the amount of rubber belt waste and prevent burning waste as fuel by giving it a new purpose. Here are a few environmentally friendly alternatives to give a conveyor belt an afterlife.
1. Sell it
The most obvious and easiest way to dispose of an old conveyor belt is to sell it. Second hand is a popular option in the industry, whether it be conveyors, forklifts or mezzanine floors. If the belt isn’t yet showing signs of wear, it can be sold for good money. Belts that do not pass rigorous testing from experts are often sold on as flooring, surface lining or for agriculture purposes.
2. Recycle Belt Rubber
After its primary life is over, rubber can be shredded and recycled into new products. This provides new uses in the production of asphalt pavements, economy tires with recycled content and eco-building materials. Shredded rubber can also be used in garden beds as a bark mulch.
3. Give Rubber an Afterlife
A good use of waste rubber is in absorbing energy from crashes and falls. We’ve all seen the tire walls that motor races use to prevent injuries. Another common use is in rubberised flooring which provides cushioning in children’s play areas.
4. Repurpose the Conveyor Belt
Due to the shape of a conveyor belt, it is possible to reuse it as a liner, for example, as rubber car mats, boot lining or flooring. This locks away any waste and gives rubber a new purpose, whilst requiring no further energy for processing.
One major environmental concern for the disposal of waste belt rubber is that many companies are simply burning it for its value. This then creates harmful greenhouse gasses and emits toxic fumes that pollute the air. Waste rubber left in wet soil can be responsible for leaching toxins into ground water. We therefore need to ensure that we are using rubber as safely as possible.