Why do we need to go Tyreless?
The vast urbanisation and industrialisation of modern society has increased the dependence on different kinds of motor vehicles for various purposes. Consequently, the number of scrap tyres has increased and posses serious health and environmental problems due to mismanagement in the disposal processes.
Since, the early days of tyre usage and the disposal of scrap tyres has been a major environmental problem worldwide. Piles of thousands of tyres at junkyards, landfills and other places are common in many countries of the world today. Tyre stockpiles are a burden on the landscape causing environmental, public safety and health threats.
Scrap tyres are land filled, stockpiled in tyre dumps, burned for energy and re-used in whole tyre applications, processed into usable other products or illegally dumped.
The major environmental problems associated with scrap tyres are attributed to the disposal process and pollution emissions especially from the open burning of scrap tyres. Scrap tyres take a very long time to degrade and are extremely difficult to compact in landfills as eventually scrap tyres will rise over time to the surface of the landfill causing consequent problems during the rehabilitation of landfill sites.
The Situation in India
- The tyre disposers control disposal fees and collector Incentives
- New collectors come into the market undercutting prices further
- Tyres go to the cheapest disposal point
- Legitimate tyre processors are at a disadvantage
- The system favours cowboy collectors
- No product stewardship programme - yet!
- No landfill bans
No idea where our tyres end up...!
Tyres are difficult to Recycle
- Tyres are made to never come apart
- Expensive specialised equipment is required
- Significant financial investment is needed for plant and equipment
- Legitimate scrap tyre processors and collectors are not adequately incentivised
- There is a perception that there is no market for 'material recovery' products
India's record for recycling end-of-life tyres is poor. India disposes more than 95% of its end-of-life tyres in ways which are not a sustainable solutions and imposes environmental problems on both current and future generations. To improve our recovery statistics India needs community participation. The major areas requiring development are Energy Recovery, Materials and Civil Engineering uses.
India is expected to accumulate around 100 million end-of-life tyres each year. Less than 5% are recovered with the remainder subjected to unsafe disposal. India needs to invoke grass root level awareness to promote Energy Recovery & Material Recovery from end-of-life tyres.
Some of the major environmental and public health problems related to End-of-Life tyres and Illegal disposal of End-of-Life Tyres
- Discarded stockpiles promote mosquitos development, which are vectors of diseases
- Stockpiles and solitary tyre fires are hazards; which are not only difficult to extinguish, they contaminate surface and sub-surface water, air and soil
- Leaching problems occur because of heavy metals and other compounds added to rubber
- Visual impact on landscape
- Landfill & Legal disposal of End-of-Life Tyres
- Whole tyres occupy a large space of the landfill, decreasing landfill life cycle
- Whole tyres have tendency to migrate to the top of the landfills, breaking protection layers and increasing the instability of the sites
- Tyres (shredded or whole) are non-biodegradable material
- Heavy metal leachates contaminate ground water