Tyres: Going full circle

Tyrecycle Chief Executive Officer Jim Fairweather.

Tyrecycle’s new campaign engages with tyre retailers to raise awareness on genuine recycling. CEO Jim Fairweather talks about the company’s vision.

Australia’s leading tyre recycler Tyrecycle has launched a consumer campaign to raise awareness around what ‘genuine recycling looks like’.

Tyrecycle Chief Executive officer Jim Fairweather says the company – which was this year awarded ‘Best Tyre Recycler’ at the Global Recircle Awards – is excited to be working with key retailers across the country to advance the consumer conversation around sustainability.

“We’re establishing a network of trusted tyre retailers across the country who back our vision for a more sustainable handling of used tyres, which places the environment at its core,” he says.

“We also need to progress a conversation in Australia about why it costs more to do things sustainably. If we can work in tandem, the pathway to a circular economy will be much smoother,” he adds.

This is especially true as the December 2021 ban on the export of whole waste tyres rapidly approaches.

“It’s critical that industry, government and the community work together to deliver environmentally sound solutions to managing end-of-life tyres – real progress will be driven by genuine partnerships,” Fairweather says.

Australia generates 450,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres every year, of which 75 per cent comprise passenger, truck and bus tyres. Whilst 72 per cent are recovered for productive outcomes, the remainder is mostly disposed (in licensed landfills or buried on-site where permitted), dumped or stockpiled.

Tyrecycle’s recently launched a new rubber crumb manufacturing plant in Sydney.

Leading up to the ban, there’s also concern that increased stockpiling may occur where organisations have not made the necessary changes to meet ban requirements, or new entrants seek to undercut the market at a time when investment and change is required.

Tyrecycle strongly supports the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Waste Export Ban on tyres and is committed to playing its role in being an active part of the solution.

“As well as the consumer campaign, we are also scaling up to meet domestic demand and have committed over $40 million to expand our capabilities and capacity,” says Fairweather.

“We have a new, highly sophisticated plant that recently came online in Eskine Park in Sydney, with a second new plant scheduled to be operational in Perth in Western Australia in the middle of next year. We’re also expanding our operations in South Australia and Victoria.”

Tyrecycle’s investments will see it produce more complex, high-quality recycled rubber materials that have a use beyond existing markets.

“We’re establishing manufacturing capability for more advanced materials including dramatically increasing production capacity to make crumb rubber and two-inch tyre-derived fuel,” Fairweather says.

“What we need now is an acceleration at all levels of government procurement in the uptake of domestically manufactured crumb rubber in roads across their network,” he adds.

With continued volatility in the international commodity markets and ongoing uncertainty associated with COVID-19, the need to more rapidly progress domestic markets has only heightened, he observes.

“We need to see a scaling up of research and development with a view to commercialising new technologies and progressing innovative solutions.”

Fairweather says we also need enhanced policy, bold procurement commitments and continued consumer education.

“We know consumers will shift their purchasing decisions based on intrinsic values but that needs to be supported all the way up the chain. We’ll achieve the goal of circularity if all stakeholders accept there is responsibility at every level.”

Tyrecycle is the tyre recycling business of ResourceCo, whose integrated resource recovery operations span Australasia. The company collects over 20 million tyres per year and operates processing plants across Australia. Tyrecycle achieves a recycling rate of 99 per cent and is the largest supplier of recycled rubber to domestic industries including construction, manufacturing and automotive.

This article was originally published in the October edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

Related stories:

Interesting? Share this article