Secondary Recycling: An Innovative Recycling Solution

By:     Kieran Donnelly

Secondary recycling is a waste management process that recovers valuable components of waste to transform them into reusable solutions. It helps reduce the demand for virgin resources, minimises landfill space and promotes the re-utilisation of waste.

In this article, we’ll outline what secondary recycling is and how this process can become a standard practice in society. It is able to be applied to various different materials and contributes to a more sustainable and circular economy.

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At Gradeall, we are innovators of waste management solutions, we seek to transform the waste management process by building industry-leading machinery for pursuing recycling methods. If you would learn more about improving the efficiency and productivity of your operation, give us a call.

Secondary recycling definition

Secondary recycling, also known as mechanical recycling or physical recycling, is a process of recycling waste materials by converting them into a new product or raw material with similar or lesser quality compared to the original material.

What type of waste is suitable for secondary recycling?

Secondary recycling can be applied to various materials. Some common materials that can undergo secondary recycling include:


Plastic waste can be mechanically processed to produce recycled plastic pellets, which can then be used as raw materials in the manufacturing of new plastic products.

Paper and cardboard

Used paper and cardboard can be collected, sorted, and processed to create recycled paper and cardboard products, such as packaging materials, paperboard, or tissue products.

At Gradeall, we manufacture balers for collecting paper and cardboard waste, helping to streamline this first step in secondary recycling.

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Glass waste can be crushed, sorted by colour, and melted to produce new glass products, such as bottles, jars, or glass fibre for insulation.

At Gradeall, we have developed an industrial Glass Crusher that is the ideal first step in secondary recycling for glass.


Various metals, including aluminium, steel, copper, and others, can undergo secondary recycling. Metal waste is often melted and purified to obtain recycled metal, which can be used in the production of new metal products.


Textile waste, including clothing and fabrics, can be mechanically processed to create recycled fibres. These fibres can then be used to manufacture new textiles or incorporated into other products like insulation materials or automotive components.

Electronics (e-waste)

Secondary recycling methods are applied to electronic waste to recover valuable materials, such as metals, plastics, and precious metals. These materials can be reused in the production of new electronic devices or other products.


Used tires can be processed through secondary recycling methods, such as shredding and grinding to produce a crumb rubber, which is then used in creating new materials. This is a great way to deal with an otherwise non-biodegradable type of waste.

It’s important to note that the feasibility and effectiveness of secondary recycling may vary depending on factors such as the type of material, its composition, and the availability of suitable recycling technologies.

Additionally, certain materials may require specific processes, such as chemical recycling or advanced recycling techniques, for optimal recycling outcomes.

Secondary recycling for tires

In the context of waste tires, secondary recycling refers to the process of converting used tires into new products or materials through mechanical means. Here are some common methods used in secondary tire recycling:

Recycled tires playground surfaces

Waste tires can be turned into crumb rubber, using a technique such as granulation or cryogenic grinding. This crumb is then used in the production of playground surfaces, road asphalt and sports pitches.

Rubber moulding and compounding:

Crumb rubber can also be mixed with other additives, such as binders and chemicals, to create new rubber products. The mixture can be moulded into various shapes or used as an ingredient in the production of rubber-based products, such as flooring, mats or automotive parts.


Pyrolysis is a thermal decomposition process where tires are heated in the absence of oxygen, breaking them down into liquid fuels, gases, and solid char. The liquid and gas products can be used as fuel or chemical feedstock, while the solid char can be used as a carbon black substitute.

Is tire fuel considered secondary recycling?

The use of tires as fuel, also known as tire-derived fuel (TDF), is not typically considered secondary recycling. Instead, it falls under the category of energy recovery or thermal recycling.

Tire-derived fuel involves using shredded or whole tires as a fuel source in industrial processes, such as cement kilns, pulp and paper mills, or power plants. Tires have a high energy content, and burning them as fuel can provide heat or generate electricity.

While tire-derived fuel can be an effective means of utilising the energy content of waste tires and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, it is not considered secondary recycling because the tires are not transformed into new products or materials. Instead, they are used as a direct energy source.

Recycling tires machines

At Gradeall, we manufacture industry-leading machinery that contributes towards the tire recycling industry. We help tire handlers efficiently manage this type of waste so that tire recycling methods are accessible and convenient for businesses to pursue.


Tire Balers

Tire balers aid businesses in transporting waste tires to recycling centres. By compacting tire waste into tight and secure bales, businesses can transport more of them at once, which saves costs on transport and reduces the amount of fuel used.

The Gradeall Tire Balers include the MK2, MK3 and the Truck Tire Baler. Each tire baler has been designed to meet various demands and tire types. If you’re unsure of which tire baler would be most beneficial for your business, get in touch with us for an expert opinion.

Tire Sidewall cutter

Removing the sidewalls from tires aids in preparing them for further recycling methods. The Car Tire Sidewall Cutter is able to complete this in just under 20 seconds and it can handle from 120-140 tires per hour.

At Gradeall, we are committed to pursuing tire recycling methods with industry-leading machinery. Check out our full range of tire recycling machines, or alternatively, give us a call to discuss your operational needs.

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