An Overview of Tyre Recycling in Australia

Five years ago, the Tyre Stewardship Australia or the TSA (not to be confused with America’s TSA) came into being to try and find solutions to the growing number of tyre waste produced each year. Since then the TSA has been building a sustainable framework that will allow the Australian people and businesses to recycle old and unused tyres. 

The Current Situation

In Australia, people discard about 50 million or tyres each year but only 5% of this is actually recycled. The remaining 95% is either dumped in landfills or elsewhere or exported to other countries. This isn’t ideal at all, because tyres take up tons of space and can fills up landfills quite fast. With tens of millions of them being dumped each year, we’re going to end up running out of space pretty soon.

However, thanks to the TSA, there is some hope for us. In recent times, old tyres have been recycled into ground rubber products which in turn have been used in the construction and repair of roads, especially in the state of Victoria. Ground rubber has been used in Australian road projects before but the scale of use has recently seen a significant increase.

There are quite a few benefits to using ground rubber products like asphalt rubber. For starters, they increase the durability of roads while providing a quieter driving experience. In addition, it provides improved water drainage as well.

Why recycle Tyres?

Simply put, old and unused tyres have a profound negative impact on the environment. As mentioned previously, they take up tons of space in our landfills. But that’s not all. Tyres are also highly flammable and they release lots of dangerous contaminants when they’re burned. In addition, tyres retain rainwater, in turn acting as breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Lastly, they make great homes for rodents as well.

By recycling we can avoid all of these issues and help support new emerging industries and help our economy in the process. For instance, road projects aren’t the only application for ground rubber. They can be also be utilized to make things like artificial sports fields, animal bedding and athletic tracks.

There are other industries that make use of recycled tyres as well. Tyre Derived Fuel or TDF is one of the biggest uses of tyres currently. TDF is actually a very good alternative to fuel sources like oil and especially coal. TDF produces 25% more energy than the latter when burnt and releases much less pollutants into the air.   

Here are some other types of products that can be made with recycled tyres:

  • Brake pads
  • Insulation materials
  • Soft fall surfaces
  • Embankment fills…etc.

Thanks to the work of the TSA, companies like BSV tyre recycling work with many big commercial brands to find useful applications for old discarded tyres. The TSA also performs and funds research that focus on new ways to use old tyres. Hence, the above list will continue to expand.

In summary, Australia is currently building a sustainable, economy-boosting framework for recycling old tyres. The prospects seem quite favourable, thanks to the emerging industries like ground rubber and Tyre Derived Fuel that can take old tyres out of our landfills.

 

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