Persian Gulf states step up waste tire recycling efforts
28 Oct 2022
Companies of the region detail operations to address build-up of ELTs
Brussels – Persian Gulf states are stepping up efforts to address increasing problems around the management of end-of-life tires (ELTs) across the region, a Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) meeting has heard.
Figures presented at the 18 Oct meeting of the BIR tire & rubber committee in Dubai showed that the Persian Gulf has 880,000 tonnes of ELT arisings per year, led by Saudi Arabia accounting for 65% and followed by the UAE at 19%.
In Saudi Arabia, Global Environmental Management Services (GEMS) is working to improve ELT collection with ‘centralised collection hubs and sorting stations', reported its managing director Abdullah Ahmed Alqurashi.
Addressing , Alqurashi said Saudi Arabia generates 572,000 tonnes of scrap tires per year.
Of that amount, 58% come from personal vehicles, 15% from light commercial vehicles and 27% from heavy duty vehicles.
Set to reach 2 million tonnes by 2050, most of ELTs go to landfill or are being dumped, said the MD, who emphasised GEMS’ efforts to address the situation.
“To have a fully fledged solution, we are improving mechanical shredding and investing in pyrolysis plants across the kingdom,” he explained.
The UAE faces similar challenges, according to Zaid Bdour, plant manager at the Gulf Rubber Co. (GRC).
Showing “before and after” photos of a landfill site in the past decade, he highlighted the comprehensive removal of millions of tires in the country.
GRC, according to Bdour, currently has five facilities for crumbing, granulation and other processes. A pyrolysis project has also been proposed but has yet to be established.
“Recycling made business sense because the value of tires in a landfill site was around $70 (€70) per tonne, granules were worth $325 per tonne and moulded products around $870,” he said.
According to Bdour, one of the major challenges for ELT management in the UAE is the volatility of used-tire prices.
This, he explained, is due to lucrative exports to Pakistan and India and “fierce” competition with imported tire products subsidised by the country-of-origin.
Also presenting at the BIR session was Khaled Jamal Chaaroui, general manager of EPSCO Global General Trading in Kuwait, which started operation at a landfill site in 2016.
Over the span of five years, the company has cleared 7 million units of waste tires and is now storing 50 million ELTs at its Salmi yard in Kuwait.