The small business that has come up with a simple but smart solution to store and transport old tyres that might go national.
Don Bradman and tyre recycling – what’s the connection? You would get bonus points at a trivia quiz if you got this one right.
The Australian cricket legend was born in Cootamundra. This small New South Wales town is also home to a small family-owned business that has developed a smart way of storing and transporting end-of-life tyres (ELTs).
Waste tyre collection business JLW Services operates throughout NSW, Canberra, and up to the Queensland and down to the Victorian borders. Its owner, Jamie Walmsley, set up the company with his wife, Leah, in June 2014, after previously running a transport business in Western Australia.
The company’s drivers collect ELTs from transport depots and retail tyre outlets, and take them to processing sites in Cootamundra and Forbes. The tyres are shredded and stored for future use, or taken to local recycling company, Green Distillation Technologies (GDT), for processing.
Jamie expanded JLW Services by buying out another tyre collection business last October. As the firm grew, and the volume of tyres it collected increased, Jamie became aware of the difficulties of storing and transporting ELTs.
“Usually a tyre fitter takes the ELT off the vehicle and stores it until collection,” says Jamie. “ELTs have to be lifted on to the truck and, when it arrives at the recycling plant, taken off one at a time.”
Jamie wanted to make it easier to handle the tyres at the points of collection and unloading. In April this year, he came up with a simple yet smart idea to solve what has long been a logistical challenge for council tips, tyre retailers, transport companies and tyre collectors: a returnable bin.
The bins take the form of heavy-duty welded cages, which are simply dropped off at the customer’s premises. The customer stacks the ELTs in a bin, which acts as a storage unit. When it is full, JLW Services collects it and drops off a new one. The bins are easy to lift and to load on and off a truck.
Jamie says that the bin system reduces multiple handling of ELTs and results in a major improvement in productivity and time efficiency for both his drivers and the customers.
“Using the bin, the multiple handling is reduced as the old tyres go straight into the bin when the tyre fitter takes them off the vehicle,” Jamie says.
The bins are manufactured on site in Cootamundra. They come in five sizes, ranging from holding 600 mixed car and four-wheel drive tyres in the 50-cubic metre size and 320 in the 25-cubic metre ones. The smallest bin, with a 10.5-cubic metre capacity, is designed for waste transfer stations and motorcycle shops.
“Our waste tyre bin system has met with very positive reaction from everyone who has used it,” says Jamie. “We can’t keep up with demand.”
As JLW Services has collected more tyres, Jamie has developed a mutually beneficial relationship with Edison Award-winning company GDT to process them, which avoids unnecessary long-time storage of the products on his sites.
“I knew GDT was setting up at Warren so I arranged with Trevor Bailey, the Chief Operating Officer, to have a look at the plant,” explains Jamie. “We realised that what I do complements GDT’s business. We can help each other out.”
JLW Services now collect the bins and take them straight to GDT’s plant for processing into oil, carbon and steel.
GDT has welcomed JLW Services success in the local area, as it will need an ongoing supply of ELTs when it starts production in October after operating a test facility at the Warren site since 2009. It has appointed JLW Services as a preferred supplier.
“An efficient and effective collection service is a key element in our end-of- life tyre recycling activities,” says GDT’s CEO, Craig Dunn. “Not only has JLW Services stepped up to the plate, it has developed this important initiative to improve productivity and lower costs.
“We will have a supply of the different sized bins at Warren. All JLW will have to do is drop off the bin full of tyres, collect the bins they need and continue on their collection round, while we can use the stock of old tyres as our stored recycling raw material.”
GDT was also impressed that Jamie committed to signing up JLW Services as a member of Tyre Stewardship Australia. This means that its collection and disposal process is audited, so the tyres can be traced – a process aimed at stopping illegal exporting and dumping. The bin system also meets New South Wales Fire Brigade and insurance regulations.
With the bins growing in popularity, and the GDT supply contract secured, Jamie is now planning to expand his operations across Australia.
“We are currently collecting approximately 4,000 tonnes of tyres a year, but GDT wants 19,000 tonnes, so we are planning to increase our capacity beyond the five trucks we currently have on the road,” Jamie explains.
Jamie has also been approached by mining sites about hiring out his bins to them to collect earthmoving ELTs.
“Everyone hates tyres, they’re expensive to buy and get rid of,” concludes Jamie. “But our returnable bin system at least takes some of the hassle out of disposing of them.”