Recycled tyres are providing a new material stream for innovative manufacturers

With only 10 per cent of the 56 million tyres discarded in Australia annually domestically recycled, this stream of product presents an opportunity for businesses, the environment, and the economy. Tyre Stewardship Australia explains the value of this material.

The Australian manufacturing sector could play a pivotal role in developing new markets and products using end-of-life tyres.

Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) wants to work with innovative manufacturers to increase the use of tyre-derived product (TDP) in the domestic economy. The organisation already helps Australian businesses through its Market Development Fund and since the Fund’s inception four years ago, more than 30 projects have been supported.

“Australian manufacturers are becoming more innovative and environmentally aware. TSA is calling on them to consider using tyre-derived product in the development of new products,” said the CEO of TSA, Lina Goodman.

“We want to work with manufacturers who are keen to become active members of the circular economy. Finding new uses for used tyres is good for the environment, business, and the economy,” she said.

TSA was formed in 2014 to implement the national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme, which promotes the development of viable markets for end-of-life tyres.

Only 10 per cent of the almost 56 million tyres discarded annually in Australia are presently domestically recycled. The rest are either exported overseas, disposed to landfill, stockpiled, or illegally dumped.

“There are already some great success stories and we are convinced there can be many more with some smart research and development and lateral thinking,” Ms Goodman said.

One Australian business driving change in the sector is Lomwest Enterprises.

Initially, Lomwest was a collector in the tyre recycling industry, baling tyres for overseas processing. But, owner and director Cliff Strahan thought there must be a better use for the tyres.

Through his innovative approach the company developed a walling system that houses the tyre bales within two skins of concrete for domestic application. It’s called the C4M walling system and it has numerous applications.

“The C4M walling system can be used as retaining walls, sound barriers, sea erosion protection walls, and even as blast and impact barriers,” said Strahan.

“For example, the product has been installed at the BP Kwinana Refinery in Perth to act as a blast wall.

“Through TSA support, I am working with Curtin University to prove the product can also be used safely and reliably in the civil construction and heavy industrial manufacturing sectors,” he said.

Other innovative manufacturers are using old tyres in a range of exciting applications: road surfaces, equine tracks, sound and impact barriers, permeable paving, soil retention, and stabilising solutions.

“These are all fantastic examples of Australian companies willing to think outside the square in order to find new opportunities,” said Goodman.

“Not only are they creating new markets but they’re also adding value to the circular economy and, of course, diverting tyre waste away from landfill and stockpiles.”

To minimise the environmental and health and safety impacts of end-of- life tyres, Australia needs diverse and sustainable domestic markets for TDP. Stronger markets for TDP will mean more tyres get recycled rather than mishandled and stockpiled, creating risk for the community.

Stronger markets also act to reduce this risk by creating more value for waste tyres and driving more competition for material. This supports a more robust recycling market that feeds a stronger and more diverse TDP consuming manufacturing sector.

But TSA understands that new markets don’t just emerge over- night. They take time to develop properly due to the need for robust research and analysis.

“That’s why we established our funding streams. We want to support businesses and organisations as they develop new markets and products and thus increase demand for Australian tyres,’ said Goodman.

In order to support TSA fund objectives, funding is delivered in two streams; the Project Stream and Scholarship Stream. The Project stream is the most relevant to the manufacturing sector and to date TSA has committed more than $4.5 million to research and development, demonstration trials, and infrastructure enhancement to increase the use of tyre-derived products in the domestic economy.

“If any manufacturing company is searching for a way to differentiate its business, it should consider the features and benefits of tyre-derived products as well as the funding support available through TSA,” said Goodman.

“Successful Australian manufacturers are surviving and thriving through being incredibly robust and innovative. TSA is keen to help the sector grow well into the future.”

For Goodman it’s all about creating a better future for manufacturers, the community, and the environment.

For more information about the funding streams or to apply, visit the TSA website; www.tyrestewardship.org.au/tsa-fund