Americans discard about 290 million used tires each year. In 1989, only 10% of old tires were recycled, while the rest sat in landfills.

Today, that statistic has increased to 81% thanks to companies like Blacklidge Emulsions, who found a way to reuse those old tires. Grover Allen, Director of Technical Support for Blacklidge Emulsions, says, “So we take a recycled material, put it into a roadway, which obviously benefits moving that material to a good application.”

Blacklidge grinds up tire rubber and uses it to make asphalt. The product they produce goes to roadways in Florida and Louisiana. Although it’s produced locally in Mississippi, the Magnolia State has yet to fully hop on board.

On Highway 49, just north of Harrison Central High School, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (M.D.O.T.) has laid down a one mile patch of asphalt containing ground rubber tire as a test to see how well it works before using it down on more Mississippi roads. Allen also says, “Typically, anyone’s going to be resistant to something new until it proves out in performance.”

Studies on the recycled rubber’s performance have been going on for decades. Seventy percent of Departments of Transportation nationwide are making the switch to this modified asphalt because of its durability, as well as its expansion and contraction capabilities.

Blacklidge officials tell News 25 to see more of these roads locally, Mississippi needs to make a bigger push toward sustainable efforts. Allen closes, “I think there’s got to be a desire to make a change, to take the product and take it out of landfills and utilize it in some way.”

Blacklidge officials say another reason to get tires out of landfills is because they collect water, which makes them a breeding ground for mosquitos.

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With a patent-protected product and nationwide licensing agreements, Blacklidge Emulsions is sitting pretty. The company’s unique emulsion product has revolutionized the paving industry as transportation departments around the country spec Blacklidge’s Trackless Tack™.

“Kenworth’s T880 with the PACCAR MX-13 was the clear-cut winner in our evaluation of which tractor to order,” said Paul Johnson, director of logistics for Blacklidge Emulsions. “A key for us was fuel economy since we run so many miles (120,000 miles per tractor per year on average).

” To get real-world results, Johnson offered up a challenge to five truck dealers. “Let us rent one of your trucks and we’ll evaluate performance and fuel economy on a line-haul run from Gulfport to Tampa Bay and back (more than 1,100 miles round trip).”

“The T880 was the runaway winner and beat the second-place tractor by nearly 10 percent in fuel economy,” said Johnson. “It also beat all of our existing fleet tractors by that number or better. We calculated we could save $6,500 in fuel per year with the T880. That’s huge.”

According to Johnson, the T880’s 52-inch sleeper gives the company flexibility and saves weight. “We can deliver in a 500-600 mile radius of our terminals, which cover the southeast,” said Johnson. “This gives our dispatchers the opportunity to utilize every tractor in our fleet regardless of distance. Our drivers may spend a night or two per week in the sleeper, but for the most part, they’re home every night. We really didn’t need a full apartment-sized sleeper, just a room with a bed and the 52-inch sleeper Kenworth offered is the right size for our operation.”

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Blacklidge Employees standing infront of new Kenworth Truck

Alabama drivers will enjoy a safer, quieter and better ride in the morning thanks to Blacklidge’s UltraFuse being used in an HMA overlay over the top of old bumpy concrete pavement on I-59 .
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