South Africa’s cement industry is to start burning tyres to fuel its kilns. The initiative is intended to diversify the industry’s fuel source and to help clean up SA, which is littered with millions of old tyres. The cost of the initiative will be borne by the consumer. Government, cement companies, tyre companies and nongovernmental organisations have agreed after six years on a solution to SA’s growing scrap-tyre problem.
The tyres will be collected and made available mainly to the rubber recycling industry and the cement industry in a system managed by a nonprofit company, the South African Tyre Recycle Process Company (SATRP). SA generates about 100,000t of car and truck tyres each year. Government would introduce legislation in February to enable SATRP to collect a disposal fee from consumers, cement company Holcim’s alternative fuels and resources manager, Johan Schoonraad, said yesterday.
The cement industry would obtain the tyres at no cost from SATRP. However, Schoonraad said, the industry would have to invest between R18m and R25m to convert the coal-fired kilns to burn tyres. Part of the fee will go to scrap tyre users such as cement companies in compensation for their investment. Holcim burnt carcasses of cattle destroyed as a precaution against mad cow disease at some of its kilns in Europe last year. SA’s cement industry, which uses more than 1.2Mta of coal, is also looking to use other energy sources such as polystyrene, typically disposed of at waste sites. Environmental groups have raised concern about the burning of tyres in cement kilns.