Let rubber hit the roads, says automotive industry
An Australian rubber recycling company claims Australia’s tyre stockpile would be eliminated if the Australian Government mandated the use of recycled rubber in bitumen road surfaces, soft-surface areas in childcare and aged care centres, pressure-moulded products such as car bumper bars, and specialist adhesives and paints.
Granulated rubber from recycled tyres can be used to make soft surfaces for playgrounds and sporting fields.
This could increase the volume of recycled rubber used in bitumen from 6000–8000 tonnes to 90 000 tonnes annually, according to John Crosby from Reclaim Industries, which processes waste tyres and manufactures products from recycled rubber.
In 2007–08, 52.5 million tyres reached their ‘end of life’ in Australia, with 64 per cent sent to landfill, illegally dumped or stockpiled. Only 13 per cent were recycled in Australia.
Disposal of tyres in landfill results in environmental and health risks from leaching of chemicals from the rubber into soil and groundwater, use of landfill space and creation of breeding sites for mosquitoes. It also represents a loss of valuable raw resources.
An industry-led scheme to recycle used vehicle tyres in Australia is one of a range of measures proposed in the Federal Government’s recent National Waste Policy: Less waste, more resources policy paper. Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, is due to convene a Tyres Roundtable early this year with key industry representatives including players from the tyre and automotive industries, to discuss the tyre-recycling issue.