Eight members of Tyre Stewardship Australia are taking their role as tyre manufacturers a step further by working towards a circular economy future.
According to Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), used tyres are being sent overseas with little regard for environmentally sound recycling processes.
TSA Chief Executive Officer Lina Goodman said a recent audit into where some Australian recyclers are sending tyres revealed multiple red flags.
These include selling to businesses with poor health and safety practices, poor storage conditions and companies involved in environmentally harmful burning.
“Whilst it is inevitable that some used tyres will be sold overseas, we want Australian tyre recyclers and collectors to be more vigilant and responsible about where they send their product.
“Although TSA does not have the authority to regulate these markets, we do want to help our participants make informed choices – choices that are safer for the environment and society,” Ms Goodman said.
TSA have engaged multinational assurance company Intertek to assist with the verification of downstream end-of-life tyre processes and review its product stewardship scheme with the aim of greater transparency.
The guiding principal of the product stewardship scheme is that all members must use accredited TSA collectors and recyclers, and if they don’t comply membership can be revoked.
Intertek General Manager Australasia Benjamin Rieck said the company is committed to working with TSA to ensure responsible and environmentally sound outcomes over a range of areas including distribution, environmental, health and safety, modern slavery and broader social responsibility and compliance.
TSA has to date committed $4 million to the development of sustainable end markets for tyre-derived products within Australia.
“We are working hard to support these emerging markets but in the meantime, we need to do more to help our participants find and use reputable overseas recyclers,” Ms Goodman said.
A trial last year saw Equine Air paving product installed on 550 square meters of Pakenham Racing Club Tynong approach track.
The product was manufactured as part of a Tyre Stewardship and Flexiroc partnership, using over 3000 equivalent passenger units, or 27 tonnes of recycled rubber.
Results from the trail were positive with riders reporting less concussive force and reduced potential for horse industry.
The unique geotechnical profile design allows the product to be placed over problematic ground conditions and drain quickly after rainfall.
Tyre Stewardship Market Development Manager Liam O’Keefe said the product is one of many developments for the company, as it seeks to grow valuable markets for recycled tyre-derived material.
“Equine Air is one of a new generation of products in the paving and surfacing industry that not only deliver better on-site outcomes but also offer a major beneficial end-use of tyre-derived material.
“The work that Tyre Stewardship Australia, and our project partners, have been undertaking in this space is certain to deliver major practical and environmental dividends in the future,” he said.
Tyre Stewardship Australia’s other new products include new mixes of crumbed rubber asphalt, permeable paving and artificial playing surfaces.
Equine Air suites a wide range of applications such as synthetic fibre tracks, sand tracks, horse walks and mounting yards.
Tyre Stewardship Australia hopes the successful trial will influence other racing tracks to use the material, creating long-term potential for the use of rubber granulate.
Around 850 used tyres have been recycled to pave a 335 metre stretch of road as part of a crumbed rubber asphalt trial in the City of Mitcham, South Australia.
The asphalt trial is funded by Tyre Stewardship Australia to support research and development into ways of improving local markets for tyre-derived products.
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A specific warm mix of dense-graded crumb rubber modified asphalt was used on the trial, which has been laboratory tested and found to be suitable for use in challenging underlying soil conditions, such as reactive clay.
The test will focus on a range of performance factors including cracking, rutting, moisture retention and general durability. The results of the test are expected to increase the specification of such roads across Australia.
If successful, the trail aims to contribute to doubling the use of recycled tyre rubber in Australia’s roads, leading to an increase in the percentage of annual used tyres consumed from around five per cent to 10 per cent.
Australia generates around 56 million end-of-life tyres each year, however only around 10 per cent of that volume is recycled domestically in all uses. Crumbed rubber asphalt and rubberised road surface spray seals can provide a potentially benefit of increasing recycling rates and improving roads.
City of Mitcham Mayor Heather Holmes-Ross said there was not only a sustainability dividend, as the asphalt will also have the potential to directly lower maintenance costs as it is less prone to cracking and rutting.
“We are trialling the crumb rubber asphalt because of the significant environmental benefits as well as the opportunity to improve the quality and life of road pavements, particularly in areas of reactive clay soils,” Ms Holmes-Ross said.
Acting CEO of Tyre Stewardship Australia Steve Clifford congratulated the council for conducting the test.
“The work done in South Australia will play an important role in creating valuable domestic recycling outcomes for end-of-life tyres. Outcomes that can also deliver new green jobs,” Mr Clifford said.
Ongoing testing is scheduled to run for two years, with results monitored on a regular basis to assess the key performance parameters.
With five years of research and development undertaken, Tyre Stewardship Australia is now turning its focus to the latest iteration of its market development fund – demonstration and infrastructure.
Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) has expanded to include a Demonstration and Infrastructure stream to grow the end market for tyre-derived products.
The new project stream will support projects that offer significant domestic use of tyre-derived products and demonstrate their benefits and viability to potential end users and product specifiers.
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A minimum 1:1 funding criterion is required for all projects, with a minimum funding level of $50,000 excluding GST and maximum of $300,000 excluding GST, however considerations will be given for larger or smaller project cash contribution on a dollar for dollar basis if the case can be made for the achievement of greater outcomes.
Applications will be assessed most favourably if a project consumes high volumes of Australian tyre-derived products and are considered innovative by TSA. Projects that can demonstrate a strong correlation between the delivery of the project and ongoing consumption of tyre derived products will also be strongly considered.
Projects must have collaborative partnerships between industry, research bodies and end users such as councils, road authorities, manufacturers or civil engineering and construction companies to demonstrate a realistic market application.
One example is the testing performed by state road authorities of the application of the newly released Australian Asphalt Pavement Association national specifications for crumbed rubber containing asphalt.
Other projects include the University of Melbourne’s trial to develop an optimum blend of permeable paving that uses recycled tyres to create footpaths, bike paths, carparks and low volume traffic roads which also can provide water to nearby trees.
The expanded funding stream does not allow funding of recycling infrastructure, seed funding for new ventures, clean-up of stockpiles or for feasibility studies.
TSA has already committed more than $3 million in support of research and development projects that focus on finding new domestic uses for tyre derived products.
For more information and to apply, click here.
To inform the industry on the use of tyres in thermal processing plants, Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) has released a report into the effectiveness of both pyrolysis and gasification.
The Tyre Pyrolysis and Gasification Technologies – A brief Guide for Government and Industry report looks at the global history of operating plants and considers the economic and end-product market factors that are critical to the commercial viability of recycling technologies in the Australian market.
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High temperature thermal processing can create oil, synthetic gas, carbon black and steel, while also providing a way of handling a waste stream that can have potential environmental or health problems if stockpiled.
TSA Market Development Manager Liam O’Keefe said the motivation of the guide was to provide the industry thought leadership on both emerging technologies as possible recycling solutions and to better inform government and businesses considering investment in such technologies.
“Obviously, TSA is interested in any technology that can sensitively recycle almost 100% of a waste tyre, but we must be aware of the prevailing market conditions, investment costs and competitive pressures that play a role in establishing the economic sustainability of such projects,” Mr O’Keefe said.
“We believe the guide, by providing a high level of consultation, analysis and technical and economic detail, will be an aid to decision making around proposed facilities.
“No one technology will meet the waste tyre environmental challenge on its own. The best result with such immense global resource recovery and management challenges usually comes from a combination of options, offering the flexibility to adjust to future conditions and developing market demands.”
The report can be downloaded here, with a full report on thermal tyre processing technologies by request from TSA.
With a new authorisation from the competition regulator, Tyre Stewardship Australia is taking a fresh focus to the application of tyre-derived products, while increasing its networks with local government, fleet managers and car and tyre importers.
New national specifications for Crumbed Rubber Modified (CRM) asphalt could see millions of waste tyres being used in Australia’s road infrastructure.
The Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA), Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), Main Roads Queensland, Main Roads WA, Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Road Research Board have worked together to develop and analyse research and development data to achieve cohesive national standards.
The new national specifications could see nearly 10 per cent of the accessible feedstock for Australian tyre-derived crumb rubber used in domestic road manufacturing, which adds up to almost 4 million end-of-life tyres every year.
The document was published by the AAPA national technology and leadership committee to facilitate the construction of demonstration trials of CRM gap graded asphalt (GGA), and to promote the use of CRM open graded asphalt in Australia.
The crumb rubber binder technology is based on the technology used in the US, with the first demonstration section of CRM GGA in the Gold Coast placed in late June.
CRM Asphalt can offer better drainage, reduced noise, improved rut and crack resistance and reduced maintenance cycles.
Engineers and road contractors are now able to work within parameters of the new national specifications to take advantage of CRM asphalt and spray seal.
TSA Market Development Manager Liam O’Keefe said reaching a national standard has been a critical part of increasing the potential market for crumb rubber use in Australian roads.
“To fully realise this potential for that use we must continue to work with industry partners to ensure the delivery of better roads and better environmental outcomes for all,” Mr O’Keefe said.
“The important next phase of the task is ensuring that the new specifications are used. As utilisation of the new specifications grows, so too will the benefits to the end- of-life tyre industry.”
AAPA Director of Technology and Leadership Erik Denneman said this is a great outcome that has come from the close collaboration between industry and road agencies in Australia.
“For AAPA this initiative fits our objective of encouraging the efficient use of available resources and promoting the use of sustainable products,” Mr Denneman said.
The new national specifications can be found here.
Tyre retailer JAX Tyres has gained accreditation from Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), which has increased the number of TSA accredited retailers to more than 1500.
By gaining accreditation, JAX Tyres has committed to ensuring any end of life tyres they dispose of across its 84-store network are managed within the TSA scheme and support the public education and market development methods of TSA.
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It joins retailers such as Beaurepaires, Bob Jane T-Marts, Bridgestone Service Centres and Bridgestone Select stores, K Mart Tyre & Auto Service, Goodyear Auto Centres, Tyres & More, Tyrepower, TyrePlus and selected Continental and independent retail outlets in achieving TSA Accreditation.
Australia currently generates more than 56 million end-of-life tyres each year. TSA is heavily involved in tyre retail, collection, recycling and research and development of tyre-derived products.
TSA Chief Executive Officer Dale Gilson said there were several consumer options available within the scheme.
“The JAX Tyres decision to join the nationwide list of accredited retailers is both a welcome development and an indication that the Australian tyre retail sector is comprehensively behind the efforts to ensure we deal with the environmental challenge of end-of-life tyres,” Mr Gilson said.
“For consumers, the addition of JAX Tyres adds further comfort that their chosen tyre retailer is committed to doing the right thing for our environment and the development of a viable future circular economy.”
JAX Quickfit Chief Executive Officer Jeff Board said that becoming a part of the TSA accreditation scheme was a step in the direction of ensuring all of its future operations were environmentally sustainable.
“We have continually reviewed operations to ensure the most environmentally sensitive processes and policies possible and we look forward to working with TSA on further addressing the challenge of managing the Australian waste tyre challenge,” Mr Board said.
Image credit: Tyre Stewardship Australia