A Tale as Old as Ties: How Railroads Turn Old Rail Ties into Sustainable “Gold”

Read out blog post: A Tale as Old as Ties: How Railroads Turn Old Rail Ties into Sustainable “Gold”

Railroads continue to be the lifeblood of American transportation systems. Tens of millions of people travel by rail each year, and 1/3 of all freight is shipped and delivered via railroads. With this volume of activity over 200 years of history, rail ties eventually become unusable. In its partnerships with Class I, Class II & Short Line and other railroads, TiEnergy works with customers to responsibly recycle and repurpose old railroad ties, establishing railroads at the forefront of sustainability and the circular economy. Here are seven benefits of railroad tie upcycling:

1. Safety First – Old, piled up railroad ties are a major hazard. Most old ties are stacked in piles allowing fires to start and spread more easily while also making them almost impossible to extinguish. Recycling old ties into TIEROC—TiEnergy’s proprietary substance used to support landfill transportation—reduces hazards in a sustainable, economical manner.

2. Second Life – Machinery that grinds old ties into TIEROC gives ties a second, usable life. The biodegradable substance provides a smooth method of transport for landfill trucks, preventing them from getting stuck and causing landfill inefficiencies and wait time. Roads made from TIEROC last as long as the landfill needs them and the ties will eventually start their conversion into LFG (landfill gas).

3. Love Thy Neighbor – While supporting landfill transportation and operations is a business arrangement, it’s also community building. The more area businesses can partner on mutually beneficial projects, the better the local community can thrive. The process of turning ties into TIEROC and providing them to landfills benefits the railroads, the landfills, and the environment directly, and community stakeholders indirectly.

4. Sustainable Future – Railroads are increasingly being tasked with developing strategies that emphasize long-term benefits for decades or generations to come. Stakeholders are shining a spotlight on the future impact of present-day decisions and asking for quantifiable proof. TIEROC saves approximately 3.06 lbs. of CO2 per tie and contributes to carbon footprint reduction in a measurable way.

5. Financial Focus – Recycling railroad ties opens doors to new marketable opportunities. It solves multiple railroad challenges at once—including how to remove ties from a property, how to remediate dispose of them properly, and how to make this process happen with financial benefit. The small investment of turning ties into TIEROC provides a single-source solution and an ongoing investment return.

6. Saving Space – Old railroad ties can sit idle for years, taking up valuable land for needless and unproductive storage. Responsibly removing old ties and turning them into beneficial substances frees up real estate that can be better used for other commercial purposes. This creates a win/win situation for railroads and the local community and provides landowners with opportunities for new development.

7. Peace of Mind – Ultimately, railroads enjoy the ongoing peace of mind when they take an expired, unusable, and potentially dangerous tie and transform it into something productive, financially viable, and sustainable. To learn more about TiEnergy, contact us.