The process of tyre recycling is the process of recycling of waste tyre that is no longer suitable for use on vehicles due to wear or irreparable damage.
These tires are a challenging source of waste, due to the large volume produced, the durability of the tires, and the components in the tire that are ecologically problematic.
Because tires are highly durable and non-biodegradable, they can consume valued space in landfills.
In the present scenario of tyre recycling, newer technology, such as pyrolysis and devulcanization has made tires suitable targets for recycling despite their bulk and resilience. Aside from use as fuel, the main end-use for tires remains ground rubber.
Every year over 1.6 billion new tires are generated and around 1 billion of waste tires are generated. However, the recycling industry processed only 100 million tires every year.
The tyre is extensively designed with several complex processes which makes it indestructible in nature and creates difficulty in the recycling of tires. However, leading tire recyclers are spending a huge amount in advance technologies and equipment’s which can help in recycling the tires for various application and protect the environment.
While India generates about 1.5 million tons of ELT per annum. Only 450,000 tons is recycled by the formal sector. There is rampage misuse of ELTs for the recovery of heating oil through Pyrolysis. Over 800 Pyrolysis plants operate across India in violation of the EPA (1986), CPCB regulations, Factory Act. These plants are of low cost, unsafe, and highly polluting. For Example, if they process 01 MT ELT they get 45-48% oils (Adulterator furnace Oil): 25-28% low-quality black carbon, 5-7% sludge which is thrown in nearby field/water bodies and 18-20% of toxic gases discharged into the atmosphere. Working conditions severely exploit the poor to the risks of uncertified boilers, toxic chemicals and crude equipment. These plants are even able to access ‘imported ELTs’ for their operations.
Stockpiles and legal dumping
Tire stockpiles create great health and safety risk. Tyre fires can occur easily, burning for months and creating substantial pollution in the air and ground. Therefore, recycling of tyres helps to reduce the number of tires in storage.
An additional health risk, tire piles provide harborage for vermin and a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may carry diseases. Illegal dumping of scrap tires pollutes ravines, woods, deserts, and empty lots; which has led many states to pass scrap tire regulations requiring proper management.
Tire amnesty day events, in which community members can deposit a limited number of waste tires free of charge, can be funded by state scrap tire programs, helping decrease illegal dumping and improper storage of scrap tires.
Although tyres are usually burnt, not recycled, efforts are continuing to find value. Tires can be reclaimed into, among other things, the hot melt asphalt, typically as crumb rubber modifier—recycled asphalt pavement (CRM—RAP), and as an aggregate in portland cement concrete. Efforts have been made to use recycled tires as raw material for new tires, but such tires may integrate recycled materials no more than 5% by weight, and tires that contain recycled material are inferior to new tires, suffering from reduced tread life and lower traction. Tires have also been cut up and used in garden beds as bark mulch to hold in the water and to prevent weeds from growing. Some “green” buildings, both private and public, have been made from old tires.
Pyrolysis can be used to reprocess the tires into fuel gas, oils, solid residue (char), and low-grade carbon black, which cannot be used in tire manufacture. A pyrolysis method which produces activated carbon and high-grade carbon black has been suggested.
Expanding vehicle fleet, surging new vehicle sales and booming construction industry are the major factors expected to boost demand for tires across India in the coming years. Moreover, growing urbanization and rising disposable income are likely to further steer growth in the country’s tire market until 2023.
More importantly, the growing popularity of recycled material to reduce the consumption of limited natural resources and to lower the CO2 emissions are pushing the adoption of innovative approaches to deal with such challenges. Recycling of scrap tires is turning out as a perfect solution for reducing environmental pollution as well as strengthens the economic condition of the country.
Road construction using rubberized asphalt is proving as the best alternative for recycled scrap tires. However, collection and recycling of all tires and prevent from illegal landfill, sensitive habitats and abandoned areas are the major challenges.
Moreover, shredding processes to clean steel wire from the rubber is a highly complex process and which hampers the profit margin of tire recyclers. Lack of standards for the recycled tire products and complexities in recovering and recycling of car tyres are also hindering the growth of the tyre recycling market.
In today’s scenario, recycling is the only way by which we can attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through an overall growth socially, economically and environmentally.
Therefore, India’s recycling industry is playing a very important role in terms of its economic output as well as employment generation along with a contribution to the sustainable management of resources.
Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) is promoting the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in India. MRAI is requesting all the tyre recycling units to adhere the golden mantra” of PMO Office i.e. the mantra of 6 R’s-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Redesign and Remanufacture, which will significantly help to minimise the pollution avoid landfills.