Warren, New South Wales — Australian recycler Green Distillation Technologies (GDT) has warned that a new government decision to ban the export of whole end-of-life tires (ELTs) could leave the country with a “massive gap” in recycling capacity.
The ban has been introduced as part of the Australian government’s overall strategy to stop the export of value-added materials – such as waste glass, plastic, paper and tires – which can be used in the manufacture of other products.
The ban on whole tires is expected to come to force by the end of 2021, the government said in a statement 9 Nov.
In reaction to the decision, GDT chief executive Trevor Bayley said the government announcement did not offer an estimate of the total number of whole tires that are currently exported.
The ELTs, he said, mostly leave Australian shores in the form of crumbed or chopped tires, and these are not included in the ban at this stage.
Anticipating a large processing capacity shortfall, Bayley said his company could “step in” to fill the gap.
Green Distillation has developed an emissions-free “proprietary technology” which is capable of recycling end‐of‐life car and truck tires into saleable commodities of carbon, oil and steel.
The company currently operates one plant in Warren in Western, New South Wales and is working on a second plant to be built in Toowoomba, Queensland.
“We can bring our processing plant at Warren in Western New South Wales up to full production in 12 months and our other planned facility in Toowoomba, Southern Queensland… to full operation in 18 months,” Bayley added.
The projected cost of the ramp-up and construction at the two facilities is AUS$20 million (€12.2 million).
GDT is also studying options for further tire recycling plants in Australian cities of Wagga, Geelong, Elizabeth, Meekatharra and Gladstone as part of a five-year growth plan which envisages the construction of seven facilities in Australia.
Each plant is estimated to cost AUS$12 million to reach full operation, according to Bayley.
Altogether, the units will be able to handle 30% of the 25 million end-of-life tires Australia generates each year, Bayley added.
Each plant will include six modules and process a mix of 19,000 tonnes of tires per year with each typical 10kg car tire, for example, expected to yield 4 litres of oil, 4kg of carbon, 2kg of steel.