Waste Tyres – The South African Solution?
South Africa has an estimated stockpile of 800 million waste tyres; a considerable achievement for a country that produces only 12 million tyres per annum. Currently most of these tyres are either burned, or retreaded. The former releasing styrene and butadiene, both known human carcinogens, into the atmosphere along with thick black smoke and other chemicals.
The South African government recognises that this is not a satisfactory response to the growing problem and is intending to make it mandatory that tyre manufacturers recycle their rubber products. The recycling initiative is estimated to be about to create some 800 jobs in recycling and collection. With only one recycling plant in the country there is a shortage of recycling facilities and the government is in discussions with various companies with a view to establishing further recycling plants.
One of the key end products is the use of tyre rubber in asphalt.One of the problems for any investor in recycling in South Africa is the lower volumes experienced in the business compared to Europe or the USA. These lower volumes push up costs and make the already marginal operations less cost effective still.
The government’s aim is to drive the tyre manufacturers to provide the recycling facilities, one way or another, and to ensure proper disposal of their products. The government will impose a one per cent tariff on the sale of every tyre, this will be used to fund the collection and disposal through The South African Tyre Recycling Process Company, a non-profit organisation that will collect waste tyres and deliver them to recycling points. .