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Liberty Tire is Paving the Way to Sustainable Resource Use

Liberty Tire is a sustainable product industry leader that collects used tires and repurposes them into a wide range of value-added recycled rubber products.

Liberty Tire Leads in Advancing Sustainable Products

Liberty Tire leads the way by incorporating the concept of a green circular economy. Let’s dive a little deeper into why that is so important and what Liberty Tire does to advance those goals!


What is a Circular Economy?

The circular economy benefits from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.


According to the US Congress, a circular economy involves industrial processes and economic activities that are restorative or regenerative by design, enabling resources to maintain their highest values for as long as possible and aiming to eliminate waste through the superior design of materials, products, and systems. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum states, “In an ideal circular economy, products are redesigned so they last through several life cycles – rather than being immediately recycled.”


A circular economy keeps products in use as long as possible and finally recycles them at the end of their life. This is very different from traditional linear economies, where we produce disposable goods, use them, and throw them away, filling our landfills and requiring more raw resources to be extracted from the environment to replace that wasted resource. 


What is a Green Economy? 


A green economy might sound like a circular economy, but it has some important differences. 


According to the UN Environment Program, a green economy is inclusive by building social equity and enhancing human well-being while reducing environmental risks and scarcities. It is a low-carbon, resource-efficient, and socially inclusive economy.  Making a green economy work requires change from the top (governments and corporations) to allow green investments to flourish. 


What is unique about green economies is that they recognize that social inequality prevents sustainable development goals and that everyone must participate to achieve them. In other words, inclusiveness is critical for success.  


A green economy also opposes the current dominant economic model that exacerbates inequalities, encourages waste, triggers scarcities, and threatens the environment and human health. 


How is Liberty Tire Advancing a Green Circular Economy?


Liberty Tire aims to create a circular economy with the rubber tire industry and simultaneously advance a green economy. That is a lofty goal for any corporation, and Liberty Tire does this with flying colors. Let’s take a closer look!


Reclaiming Tires

Liberty Tire reclaims used tires by offering businesses and residential customers collection services. This keeps them from entering the waste stream, overloading landfills, polluting our waterways, and depleting air quality. 


This advances a circular economy by keeping tires out of the waste stream and a green economy by encouraging resource efficiency and changing the industry’s old use and throw-away paradigm. 


Reselling High-Quality Used Tires Into the Used Tire Market

After collecting used tires, they are graded. High-quality used tires enter the used tire market to give them new life as tires for people who may not be able to afford new tires but still require quality tires. This advances a green economy through social inclusiveness for low-income families and a circular economy by extending their use as a tire.  


Recycling All Parts of a Tire and Working Towards Zero-Waste


When a tire can no longer be used, it’s ground into crumb rubber and sold to other industries or used to create a wide range of value-added products (more below).  


There are also 2.5 lbs of steel tire wire in every passenger tire. Liberty Tire reclaims over 475 million pounds of carbon-rich steel annually. Steel manufacturers then purchase recycled tire wire because it’s high-quality, cost-effective, and helps them reduce their carbon footprint as well. That’s a win-win for everyone!


Liberty Tire has an impressive company goal to achieve zero waste by 2030. In addition to recycling all parts of the tire, they recently started working with BestPLUS Lumber to recycle their super sacks (large plastic totes that hold recycled rubber for storage and transport), which are now made into plastic lumber instead of being sent to the landfill as per industry standards.


Repurpose Downgraded Tires Into Eco-Friendly Products

Liberty Tire turns downgraded used tires into crumb rubber, which then enters sustainable markets. This achieves full circularity by maximizing the product’s reuse even after it can no longer be used as a tire. And because this is resource-efficient and low-carbon, it also advances a green economy.


The crumb rubber is sold to numerous companies that make yoga mats, patio umbrellas/bases, bumpers, fitness room flooring, animal mats, trash cans, shoes, rubber bands, bottle openers, rubber roofing, rubber chairs, flower pots, jewelry, rugs, floor mats, and increasingly new tires.  Who would have thought you could make so many things from an old tire?

Rubberized Asphalt

Liberty Tire is also a leader in product innovation, creating a high-quality line of value-added products from recycled rubber. In addition to crumb rubber, they also make athletic surfaces, infill, tire-derived aggregate for drainage and backfill, industrial feedstock, and their new innovative rubberized asphalt that makes roads quieter, safer, more durable, produces less wear-and-tear on tires, and is itself 100% recyclable. They also produce tire-derived fuel that has a higher BTU and lower environmental impact than coal and is recognized by the US EPA as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. 


Liberty Tire produces a wide range of premium landscaping products, including rubber mulch, bonded mulch for walkways (image above), premium landscape edging, rubber pavers, tree rings, and splash blocks that will last for years with little to no maintenance and are safer and more durable than conventional wood, concrete, or metal products. Their products have been thoroughly tested for environmental safety to ensure they have no negative effects on overall water quality.


Finally, they also produce a range of rubber playground products, including rubber mulch, edging, timbers, and durable mats that are 2 - 3 times safer for kids at play thanks to their shock-absorbing capabilities proven to reduce the risk of injuries on the playground. Of course, Liberty Tire has rigorously studied the potential health effects of using recycled rubber on children’s playgrounds to ensure their products are safe for our children. 


Liberty Tire Has Stringent Quality-Control and Safety Certifications  

Liberty Tire has its own in-house quality control but also uses third-party certifications to ensure its products meet all quality control and safety considerations both inside the manufacturing process and when the end consumers use them. 


The goods they produce are ASTM-certified, and all materials for use in playgrounds are IPEMA-certified


Liberty Tire is Accelerating Environmental Stewardship


Environmental Stewardship is the responsible use and protection of the natural environment by participating in conservation efforts and sustainable practices. The goal is to create a more sustainable environment and enhance ecosystem resilience. As you might have guessed, Liberty Tire accelerates global environmental stewardship goals within and outside its company. 


For instance, in 2022, they collected over 195 million tires across the U.S. and Canada, creating 4.3 billion pounds of recycled rubber and keeping those used tires out of our ever-expanding landfills. Using their recycled rubber products has helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million metric tons of CO2 in 2020 and more than 945,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2021. 


They also work with their suppliers to encourage them to prioritize their social and environmental issues and practice ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) within their own companies. They have a Supplier Code of Conduct that their vendors must follow, which encourages ethics and integrity, health and safety, human rights, and environmental stewardship, all furthering a green circular economy. 


Since Liberty Tire works with manufacturers and retailers of new tires by collecting their used tire waste, it helps those companies reduce their own carbon footprint and improve circularity. They also work with wholesale customers who buy their products to help them reach their Scope 3 goals of reducing their carbon footprint. Their complete transparency in environmental reporting allows their industry partners and wholesale customers to use those figures in their own carbon footprint reduction calculations.   


Liberty Tire is always looking for innovative ways to accelerate its sustainable business practices. For instance, they have strong company-wide policies to reduce their own in-house greenhouse gas emissions. From switching to LED lights to optimizing truck routes to save on gas while maximizing efficiency, they are reducing their own carbon footprint to help the environment. They have reduced their fleet mileage by over 161,000 miles through route optimization in the Texas market and converted more than 320,000 square feet to LED lighting, reducing their consumption of energy from lighting by 67%. They work closely within their own company and with local power companies to maximize their energy efficiency in every way possible. And while Liberty Tire already practices water-use efficiency, in 2023, they implemented a comprehensive water-use inventory system to identify further opportunities for improvement in sustainable water use. 


Liberty Tire is also part of the USDA Better Plants program that “works with leading U.S. manufacturers and wastewater treatment agencies to set ambitious energy, water, waste, and carbon reduction goals and commit to reducing energy intensity by 25% over a 10-year period across all U.S. operations.” That is no small goal to achieve, yet Liberty Tire is already recognized as an efficiency leader and is well on its way to achieving that goal. 


Liberty Tire is not waiting to be mandated to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and increase its efficiency. Instead, they are accelerating their stringent environmental stewardship goals and rapidly becoming a role model for corporate sustainability in a greener world. 


Liberty Tire Connects With People and Communities


People in the Workplace

Since part of a green economy includes improving human well-being and building social equity, it’s no surprise that Liberty Tire does its best to connect with people and communities.


Back at their corporate office, Liberty Tire understands that people are the beating heart of their company, and they take an inclusive, collaborative approach with their over 3,000 employees at over 50 facilities throughout North America.  


Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just slogans they use; they are fully integrated into their company.  They ensure their workforce represents all members of society regardless of race, sex, and even age.  From its hiring process to supporting employees and their families with employee benefits to encouraging career development through training programs, Liberty Tire ensures its workforce is diverse, fair, and inclusive for all members of society. 


Liberty Tire does not stop at race and gender for inclusiveness. They also partner with veteran recruiting agencies and immigrant hiring programs. They even go out of their way to offer hiring opportunities to economically disenfranchised urban residents and people with past criminal records who both otherwise have difficulties finding employment. Liberty Tire gives everyone that second chance that many companies don’t offer. 


Liberty Tire also has a strong commitment to employee safety, with protocols in place working towards preventing rather than reacting to accidents and striving towards zero workplace injuries, vehicle accidents, and fires. Since 2010, the company has seen an impressive 67% decrease in annual OSHA recordables and an 82% decrease in Lost Time injuries.


People in the Community

Liberty Tire cares about its employees and everyone in the communities where they work and live. They strive to improve the lives of everyone, not just the shareholders, like so many corporate models. 


In the community, Liberty Tire is a leader in educating its customers about the sustainable benefits of its products and encouraging them to be sustainable in all aspects of their lives.


In addition to helping disenfranchised community members gain employment, they also have numerous other societal initiatives. For example, they raised over $55,000 to help support local families in need during the 2022 holiday season. They sponsor youth sports teams and donate rubber mulch to schools and urban outdoor recreation initiatives. Through volunteer and philanthropic efforts, they also help support numerous charitable organizations aimed at childhood security and development.  


Liberty Tire also works with communities to help them clean up dangerous abandoned tire piles, remediating more than 150 dump sites nationwide containing nearly 40 million scrap tires. They also participate in programs supporting efforts to reduce pesticide use and clean up our rivers.


Final Thoughts


Liberty Tire is doing its part to pave the way to a more sustainable future by making the tire industry a circular economy by repurposing and recycling used tires and creating safe, high-quality, value-added recycled rubber products that can be used in a wide range of sustainable applications.


They are also working towards being a more sustainable business by reducing their energy use by at least 25% and creating a zero-waste economy by 2030.

 

Liberty Tire’s social policies regarding their employees and community programs have proven time and again to help create an inclusive green economy by improving the lives of everyone around them, not just the owners of the company like so many corporate models in our traditional linear economies of waste. 


Liberty Tire truly is a shining example of corporate responsibility in a greener and more sustainable world. Thank you, Liberty Tire!


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