The Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (Redisa) has adopted several tactics to remediate waste tyres and, ultimately, reduce carbon emissions. This includes processing waste tyres using pyrolysis, crumbing and controlled burning in cement kilns.
From January last year to June this year, 19 908 t of waste tyres have been remediated through pyrolysis, 18 763 t have gone to cement kilns and 37 599 t have been crumbed. This means that Redisa potentially counteracted about 57 132 t of carbon emissions from January 2015 to June 2016.
Crumb rubber is the result of processing particularly automotive and truck scrap tyres. During this process, the steel and tyre cord (fluff) are removed to create a rubber with a granular consistency. This rubber crumb is often used in astroturf as cushioning (sometimes referred to as astro-dirt), in asphalt for the tarring the roads, and in floor mats, bricks, tiles, carpet padding, vehicle mudguards and adhesives.
Redisa director Stacey Davidson explains that the amount of carbon emissions reduced is based on the assumption that all waste tyres remediated through Redisa’s Plan – approved by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and gazetted in November 2012 – would have been burned to generate heat or for their steel. The burning of tyres is a trend which has become prevalent in South African communities, and even at landfills.
Redisa regards this as an opportunity for new recycling businesses to get involved in the value chain. Therefore, all such small businesses that comply with Redisa’s preconditions should submit an application to get involved in the Redisa Plan and assist the initiative to develop the economy.
Davidson emphasises that, for the first time, an industry is being held accountable and is taking responsibility for the full environmental impact of its products; it also has a means to mitigate and, ultimately, eliminate that impact. “This approach has been hailed by the World Economic Forum, in Davos, and the European Union as a success and a South African solution to a global environmental concern.”
Meanwhile, Redisa has made significant progress towards building a viable and sustainable circular economy focusing on tyre recycling. “What we are most proud of is the impact the initiative has had on the many people employed and supported by Redisa in terms of the secondary recycling industry.”
The initiative has created more than 3 000 jobs and progressed the development of small businesses in South Africa from December 2013 to June 2016. Redisa is collecting tyres from 2 771 dealers, and as the plan continues in its five-year roll-out, more dealers and collection points will be established nationwide. More than 200 small, medium-sized and microenterprise business operations are working with Redisa in accordance with the plan.
Redisa allocates 80% of the revenues collected to supporting the circular economy through reinvestment in the industry.