According to Jim Fairweather, Chief Executive Officer at Tyrecycle – Australia’s only national tyre recycler – thousands of tonnes of waste tyres are illegally dumped every year. They cost millions of dollars to remove annually, and are also a significant health hazard.
“Even the smallest number of dumped tyres can create a dangerous breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry diseases such as Dengue fever and Ross River virus. In addition, tyres are combustible, so once they’re ignited, they are difficult to extinguish,” says Mr. Fairweather. “Every tyre that is dumped, burnt or landfilled leaches significant toxins and hazardous compounds into our environment.”
Despite the somewhat harsh reality of the situation, companies such as Tyrecycle are taking proactive steps to protect the environment and change how and where scrap tyres end up.
According to the firm, its operations reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 100,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. That’s equivalent to taking 21,276 cars off the roads.
The company has processing facilities in all states of Australia and converts end-of-life tyres, otherwise destined for landfill, into recycled rubber products. Tyrecycle also operates Australia’s largest processing plant in Victoria, where waste tyres are collected from across the country and recycled into rubber granules and powders of varying size for different uses.
Tyrecycle controls the end-of-life destinations of all its products to ensure the full chain of custody in its recycling processes.
Where do these recycled tyres go exactly? One such use is in the road and civil construction sectors, where it is emerging as a viable ‘green’ alternative to conventional materials.
The billion-dollar Perth Stadium and Sports Precinct project another project where Tyrecycle is repurposing scrap tyres.
Perth Stadium is certified under the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA)’s Green Star rating system for its reduced environmental impact. As such, recycled scrap tyres are an ideal material to use in the build.
“We’re continually finding opportunities in civil construction applications to utilise recycled rubber product from waste tyres. Tyrecycle’s involvement in Perth Stadium is an example of how innovation can help protect the environment,” says Mr. Fairweather.
“We’ve delivered 50 tonnes of 3 to 5-millimetre recycled rubber granule from our production facility to be used in the stadium build.
“The product is being used to counteract soil movement. It is also being placed around the footings to stabilise the foundations of the 60,000 seat stadium and reduce any future cracking.”
The rubber granule materials are produced from 100 per cent recycled truck tyres and go through a specialised manufacturing process to remove metal, stone, glass, wood and fabric materials to be reused in the construction, manufacturing and automotive industries.
Tyrecycle also supplies recycled rubber granule and crumb for professional athletics tracks and other sporting surfaces, as well as asphalt for roads. Tyres can also be chipped and used as drainage aggregates in the construction of drains and embankments.
“Our products, which are fit for purpose, are becoming increasingly popular as alternative construction materials, reflecting their quality, cost effectiveness and environmental credentials,” says Mr. Fairweather. “Tyrecycle is all about stopping tyres and other rubber products, including conveyor belts, being sent to landfill or whole-baled tyres going offshore.”
Tyrecycle continues to work with government and industry to increase awareness of the importance of tyre recycling and associated product developments. “We are committed to discovering new applications for scrap tyres to reduce how many enter waste streams and landfills.”