Enviroserv commissions Cape tyre recycling line

PHOTO: U-turn – The plant was originally designed for in-line processing, but the size of the hall available dictated that a U-shaped layout be used, which Peter Waldburger believes is effective

ENVIROSERV, one of South Africa’s biggest waste management groups, is setting up a tyre recycling plant in Cape Town, one of its most ambitious projects yet.

Enviroserv has up until now focused mainly on landfill operations, but recently began looking for alternative solutions, specifically to ‘intercept’ valuable materials before they arrive at landfills – into which category tyres clearly fall. Even with the REDISA tyre recycling plan currently being implemented, large quantities of discarded tyre casings have been left abandoned around the country. With one of Enviroserv’s main strengths being its logistics and transport abilities, the group is able to accept used tyres from existing customers and then recover the valuable materials.

The new plant, which is a significant investment, caters for this need. The commissioning of the line is being managed by Enviroserv consultant Peter Waldburger, who ‘retired’ from the company earlier this year … but now finds himself involved in as many as eight major recycling projects around the country.

A complete tyre reprocessing line from South Korea has been installed at the Enviroserv premises in Bellville. The site was previously occupied by Albert Moore Industries, a plastic recycling business. Enviroserv was leasing the property for use as its Cape depot, but purchased the site earlier this year.

A multi-stage process is involved: the reinforced rim lining is first ripped off; following which the casings go through a first stage shredder where they are it is reduced to 50-70mm particles. Thereafter the material passes through two mills where the particles are further reduced in size, following which the batches go through a granulator during which the particles are reduced to rubber crumb with a particle size as little as 4mm long – which is suitable for road/track/path surfacing applications.

Removal of metal as well as nylon or fibre particles takes place at several points along the process; dust is similarly extracted.

Further processing can yield rubber crumb powders which can be used for surfacing of sports tracks, playgrounds and buildings as well as ‘non-slip’ and other applications.