The equivalent of more than a million used car tyres can now be recycled to make high quality crumb rubber bitumen, in a ‘game changing’ partnership between Puma Bitumen and Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA).
Through two significant equipment investments – partly funded by TSA – Puma Bitumen has expanded its manufacturing capacity and widened the range of crumb rubber technology for both sprayed seals and asphalt currently available in Australia.
Two mobile crumb rubber blending units were commissioned in Western Australia to become a permanent part of Puma’s supply chain, capable of producing highly stable crumb rubber binder with rubber contents up to 24 per cent. TSA contributed $200,000 to the upgrade.
Puma’s Townsville, Queensland site has also been upgraded to allow production of crumb rubber binder, with $50,000 in TSA funding.
The Townsville plant successfully produced the first batch of crumb rubber modified sprayed seal binder last month.
It represents a significant investment in equipment that will enable the local production of world class crumb rubber modified binders.
“We are committed to solving industry and governmental challenges and finding eco-friendly solutions to reduce the impact on environment, society and workforce and support the Australian road industry,” Puma Bitumen National Manager Phil Chirnside said.
“For every tonne of binder production, the equivalent of 25 passenger tyres will be recycled. This can only be achieved because Puma has the support of industry-leading manufacturing equipment.”
According to TSA CEO Lina Goodman, Puma’s infrastructure upgrades highlight the importance of innovation in the circular economy.
In the 2018/19 financial year TSA approved 13 new crumb rubber roads projects.
The successful delivery of those projects will create a potential market demand for the Australian resource recovery industry of 11,700 tonnes per annum – the equivalent of more than 1.5 million EPU.
TSA has invested more than $6.3 million nationally to fund real-world outcomes for tyre-derived products like crumb rubber.
Goodman said the significant level of investment was testament to TSA’s deep commitment to driving a comprehensive, national program to significantly increase the development and penetration of crumb rubber products in Australia.
“Through its export ban of whole baled tyres, expected to come into effect at the end of this year, the Federal Government has set the scene for greater consumption of tyre-derived products such as crumb rubber, permeable pavements and other innovative products across infrastructure nationally,” she said.
“The environment is perfect for investment in infrastructure for the recycling of used tyres, and these projects show Puma Bitumen is ahead of the pack.”