Rubber tyre recycling

The most common fate for the tyre is that it will be deposited in a landfill or stored in an open tyre dump. Both of these options are not only wasteful, but create an environmental and health risk of enormous proportions.

Apart form the ever present risk of fires from open stockpiles, disease carrying rats and other vermin live and shelter in open tyre heaps. In countries with a warmer climate, mosquitoes carrying Dengue fever, Grate bone fever and Malaria breed in the water contained in the tyres.

Landfilling will of course remove the risk of vermin proliferation, but many countries cannot or do not wish to commit the valuable space and resources required to bury the ever growing stream of waste tyres. There is also some debate as to the byproducts of buried tyre degradation processes and how they will effect ground water. Water is one of our most precious resources and must be safeguarded at all costs. Currently in most metropolitan areas tyres for landfill are cut prior to landfilling because, over time and through the action of landfill gases and soil moisture, whole tyres work up to the surface of a landfill. Alternatively, tyres are buried in a monofill with the intent that they could be recovered in the future. Despite best intentions these, in most cases tyres within monofills are there to stay indefinitely.

With the forecast industrialisation in Asian economies, and the ongoing growth in tyre use in the existing industrialised nations, it is apparent that the existing stockpiles of discarded tyres will grow exponentially in the foreseeable future. These potentially massive stockpiles will adversely, and substantially, affect the environment. A growing awareness of these environmental concerns also ensures that, in the future, the current landfill disposal option will be increasingly distasteful to accountable legislators. Already, countries are partially or wholly banning the landfilling of tyres and planning to ban completely the landfilling of tyres within the short term. Dumping and stockpiling tyres is environmentally irresponsible and, in the longer term, commercially unsustainable.

There is therefore a projected increase in the demand for environmentally responsible methods for dealing with the growing tyre recycling challenge. As a disincentive to dumping or stockpiling, many government authorities now enforce a disposal fee or recycling subsidy. This fee is generally enforced (loosely) by industry and involves the tyre owner (disposer) to pay a disposal fee to a registered tyre recycler or waste disposal company. This makes tyre recycling to one of the few businesses in the world where the business is paid to accept its raw material !!!