Tyre recycler, Tyrecycle, has been called upon to clean up 3,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres abandoned by an unscrupulous operator at Pinkenba in Brisbane. Paying customers had trusted these tyres would be recycled by the company, which instead abandoned the site, leaving several years of stockpiled rubber waste behind.
“At Tyrecycle, we abhor this kind of practice, it costs business, it harms the environment and it creates a significant safety risk,” said Jim Fairweather, Tyrecyle CEO.
The sheer volume of the stockpiled waste set off numerous safety and environmental alarms for Tyrecycle, which took three weeks to clear the site of thousands of end-of-life passenger, all-wheel-drive, truck and earthmoving vehicle tyres.
“Rubber waste quickly becomes a fire hazard and the site’s proximity to Brisbane’s domestic and international airports made this particular occurrence all the more fraught with danger,” said Fairweather. “A fire on the site would have caused significant disruption to air traffic.”
The practice of stockpiling end-of-life tyres also creates a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes and has a devastating impact on vegetation and wildlife, reckons Fairweather.
Tyrecycle annually collects and recycles more than 120,000 tonnes of tyre and conveyor belt waste otherwise destined for landfill in Australia.
“We have a national collection and processing footprint, so no job is too big, too small or even too remote for Tyrecycle,” said Fairweather. “Once the waste arrives at any of our five specialised facilities, we use an EPA-approved processing method to transform it into rubber crumb, granule or tyre-derived fuel.”
The crumb and granule is supplied to domestic markets for reuse in road and sporting surfaces, playgrounds, adhesive manufacturing and brake-pads; the fuel is used for energy recovery.
For every waste tyre recycled, Tyrecycle says independent assessment shows it recovers 85 per cent of the rubber needed to make a new tyre, 95 per cent of the steel needed to make a new tyre and offsets almost 60 per cent of the greenhouse gases emitted to make new tyres.
Tyrecycle says it is continually evolving and discovering new applications for waste material, and promises a full chain of custody for all materials received, processed and supplied, which guarantees its products are used in an environmentally sound way.
“The 3,000 plus tonnes of tyres at the Pinkenba site were once an unsightly and major fire risk,” said Fairweather. “They have since been transformed into fuel that is now powering high-energy industrial kilns.”