The Tyre Recycling Industry Association of South Africa (TRIASA) has been established to reduce waste tyres while promoting economic growth and job creation.
The new association is set to contribute to the government’s Section 29 Integrated Waste Tyre Plan and advocate for tyre recycling at a national level. Its goals include promoting the use of recycled tyre material in road resurfacing and supporting research in tyre recycling. Mehran Zarrebini, CEO of Mathe Group and one of the founders of TRIASA, said the industry should foster a strong relationship with the government to effectively manage tyre waste in South Africa.
The launch of the Tyre Recycling Industry Association of South Africa (TRIASA) is a positive step towards reducing waste tyres in the country while contributing to economic growth and job creation, according to Mehran Zarrebini, one of the body’s founder members and CEO of Mathe Group. The group aims to promote a circular economy and reduce South Africa’s dependency on imported rubber by encouraging the use of recycled tyre material (RTM) in applications such as road resurfacing, construction, and infrastructure projects. It also seeks to stimulate the use of recycled content in new products, supporting research in tyre recycling to foster innovation in end-market applications for RTMs and expanding potential uses to create new opportunities.
In South Africa, the efficient repurposing of used tyres, which pose health and environmental risks, has been a challenge. The Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) was established in 2013 to create an environmentally friendly waste tyre management solution, but it was suspended in 2017 following allegations of mismanagement, corruption, and financial irregularities. Since then, minimal recycling has continued.
TRIASA’s goals include encouraging green public procurement (GPP) and supporting the circular economy by promoting the use of RTM in various applications. The association’s members include entities involved in waste tyre processing that employ either of the primary recycling technologies currently in use – mechanical or ambient grinding of tyres and pyrolysis (decomposition at high temperatures) and pre-processing, shredding, and baling. Members must be registered with the Waste Bureau and have supply agreements in place.
Zarrebini believes that the industry should foster a strong relationship with the government regarding the implementation and management of the tyre waste management plan of South Africa. The global tyre waste pile includes rejects, with EU member states permanently removing about 4.21 tonnes of tyres from various types of vehicles in 2021, representing an increase of 300,000 tonnes compared to 2019. There are comparable quantities in other regions, including the Americas, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.
However, statistics on waste tyres in South Africa are scarce, and there needs to be a national audit. A Waste Bureau data estimate suggests there are an average of 13 million tyres weighing 300,000 tonnes sold through a network of between 1,400 to 2,000 dealerships annually. Passenger vehicle tyres, including SUV/4×4 and light truck radial tyres, contribute an estimated 89% of waste tyres, while commercial vehicle (truck) tyres account for 11%. Applying an 18-20% reduction in weight between new and waste tyres results in an estimated 240,000 – 250,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres annually, most of which are returned to dealerships and fitment centres when new tyres are fitted.
According to updated industry data, 206,272 tonnes of waste tyres were generated in 2021. However, according to the latest government statistics, only an estimated 54,460 tonnes of waste tyres were reprocessed in 2018/19.
TRIASA believes that it can make an important contribution to the government’s new strategy by creating entrepreneurial manufacturing opportunities and jobs while reducing waste tyres. The association provides a forum for discussion, knowledge exchange, and collaboration on pressing issues within the industry and aims to foster the growth of the tyre recycling industry. TRIASA’s launch comes at a critical time, and its goals align with the global trend towards sustainability and environmental responsibility. By promoting a circular economy, reducing waste, and creating jobs, TRIASA can help South Africa move towards a greener future.