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Tire recycling on TRACC

Stephen Richardson shows TRACC's products.

When John Leonard’s Minto-based company was first struggling through the trials and errors of setting up a tire recycling business,  they couldn’t know they’d soon become one of the most inventive manufacturers of used rubber on the continent ... and a fast friend to dairy cows everywhere in the process.

But that’s exactly where the Tire Recycling Atlantic Canada Corporation —more commonly known as TRACC — is today.

Every year, the New Brunswick-based business processes over one million tires (that’s 13 million pounds of rubber!) into a kind of “crumb” that is then used to make new and specialized consumer products for export to over 130 different countries.

Products like their very popular rubber cow mats are successfully helping dairy cows be more comfortable where they stand and, as a result, be 10 per cent more productive in letting milk.

Not to mention their high-end “Moderne Slate” roofing tile that looks remarkably like expensive slate, but is made-to-last from a composite of rubber crumb and recycled plastic ... and quickly garnering attention from markets abroad, such as the United Kingdom.

In fact, the innovations seem never-ending for this ambitious business, with more than 25 products now rolling off their assembly lines — from specialized anti-fatigue rubber mats, imitation patio blocks and barrel bottoms, to landscaping mulch, snow guards and even playground material.

“It has taken a lot of research and reinvestment in equipment to get where we are now from our beginnings in tire recycling in 1996,” says Stephen Richardson, who, as general manager of the company, takes a lot of pride in the meaningful jobs the 40,000 square foot facility provides to more than 40 employees in rural New Brunswick.

He says assistance from ACOA has greatly helped TRACC expand and modernize its facility, improve efficiencies, hire experts for market validation and product development, and to implement new product lines like their “Moderne Slate.”

“Over the years, working with ACOA has allowed us to diversify more than we could have otherwise,” Stephen explains. “If you put all your eggs in one basket, you won’t be in business long. ACOA funding has sped up the diversification process for us. Without this support, we’d still be in the testing stage for new products.”

With demand rising in North America and Europe for environmentally-conscious products, this is one industry leader that certainly seems on the fast TRACC to success.

Published in March 2011.