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Full Circle: Andrew MacDonald using tire-derived aggregate in latest construction project

Truro, Nova Scotia — President of Maritime Auto Parts Andrew MacDonald and his wife Katie are taking recycled tires to a new level⁠—ground-level, that is.

Since 1996, Nova Scotia’s tires have been processed and recycled by Divert Nova Scotia (Divert NS). According to the organization, more than one million used tires are diverted from the province’s landfills every year and 70 percent of those go to Halifax C&D Recycling to be recycled into a tire-derived aggregate (TDA) for construction of engineering applications.

“We have a lot of soft soils in Nova Scotia that you cannot readily build on because they are too weak to support infrastructure,” said Dr. Hany El Naggar, associate professor and graduate studies coordinator with the Department of Civil and Resource Engineering at Dalhousie University. “But when you use a TDA-soil mixture for the backfill, you have something that is lightweight but significantly reinforces the strength of the foundation soil. Now, you can build the structure you want on that soil, doing it economically without any risk that it will fail.”

When building their new commercial property, the MacDonalds learned of the TDA’s construction applications. As an obvious advocate for the circular economy, MacDonald couldn’t say no to the idea. 

“They sell different TDA varieties depending on your application,” said Andrew. “I did my homework, learned about the adhesion properties, how lightweight it is compared to gravel, and I was sold.” 

“I’m sure some of my tires are under there somewhere,” he laughed.

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