Mike Bryczka, General Manager
Cambridge, Ontario • 519-740-6801
Recovery Technologies is on its third
owner since its inception in 1993, but the products and
technologies haven’t changed much at all. The company
was started by three partners – two engineers and
one accountant – who came up with a way to process
scrap tires using cryogenics to freeze the rubber.
More than just a high-tech gimmick, Recovery
Technologies’ general manager Mike Bryczka explained
that cryogenically processed rubber has different characteristics
than traditionally ground rubber. Bryczka said that the
rubber “is broken as opposed to ground,” which
gives it smooth edges.
The process – a proprietary system
– involves shredding the tires first, then a liquid
nitrogen spray and then a trip through a hammermill to
break the frozen rubber. The result is what Bryczka called
“cryo-rubber.” By re-grinding the cryo-runner
in a cracker mill, another product “crambient rubber,”
The smooth edges of cryo-rubber makes
it ideal for sports field applications. According to Bryczka,
it has better density, will settle and pack down and won’t
float when the fields are wet.
Now owned by an investment banking firm,
Recovery Technologies is using the same basic process
designed by the original partners, but “made more
efficient” according to Bryczka.
The company has expanded from its original
plant in Ontario, adding locations in Saskatchewan and
Nova Scotia in Canada as well as in Pennsylvania.
Bryczka said that one reason for the
growth is “the demand for that type of rubber.”
Most NFL fields use a rubber base and other markets are
emerging as well, including use in asphalt, landscaping
material and running tracks. Bryczka noted that in horse
arenas, rubber is used to replace traditional gravel and
“We’ll take all the tires
we can,” Bryczka said. In Saskatchewan and Nova
Scotia, a “stewardship program” exists, so
registered haulers bring tires in to be processed. But
it’s not all huge quantities from big businesses
– Recycling Technologies will accept tires from
individuals. He noted that while the landfills charge
$5 per tire, Recycling Technologies will take tires from
individuals for $1 per tire.
A smaller market for Recovery Technologies’
rubber is TDF (tire derived fuel), but they prefer to
focus on re-use of the rubber. In fact, the goal is to
recycle 100 percent of the tire, eventually. They’re
getting close. Their process separates the fiber and steel
from the tires, and the steel goes to metal recyclers.
The only part that isn’t currently being recycled
is the fiber, but they’re working on that.
Still more uses are possible, including
use in injection molding machines where the rubber is
mixed with plastics, and highway uses as traffic barriers
and light standards. “R & D interests me,”
He noted that rubber recycling is in
its infancy compared to other recycling. “There
are always changes in the industry,” he said. And
Recycling Technologies is growing and learning with the