South Africa is said to generate close to 500 000 tonnes of waste rubber tyres a year. Only about 20 per cent of this is recycled. The rest takes up scarce landfill space or is illegally stored or dumped, posing a major environmental threat and particularly a fire hazard.

Secondary uses for waste tyre rubber include burning for fuel, construction materials for civil engineering and building projects, athletics and recreational areas, home products such as flooring, even clothing and shoes. But ironically one of the biggest users of waste tyre rubber globally is an industry that puts it right back on the road. This is, of course, the asphalt industry, which uses ground tyre rubber (GTR) as an additive in the production of asphalt binder.

The use of GTR in asphalt surfacing has many surprising benefits, not least the critical aspect of environmental sustainability. Together with their clients, AECI Much Asphalt and subsidiary firm AECI Spraypave are working to ensure that more waste tyres are reused. Find out how we’re doing this in our series of posts on recycling tyres for asphalt over the next few weeks.

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