be’ah seeks ways to recycle waste tyres

By Conrad Prabhu — MUSCAT: Jan. 8 – Oman Environmental Services Holding Company (be’ah), the wholly government-owned entity tasked with managing the solid waste sector, is planning to shortly invite proposals for suitably recycling the massive quantities of waste tyres stockpiled at key locations around the Sultanate. Around 45,000 tons of so-called ‘end-of-life’ (ELT) tyres are generated every year in the Sultanate — a figure that is projected to rise in line with population growth and urbanization.  For want of environmentally safe ways of disposing of this waste, these tyres have been piling up at two major dumpsites. The biggest is in Dhofar Governorate where several millions of waste tyres are currently being amassed.
If not suitably and safely processed and disposed of, tyre dumps pose a major fire hazard as well as threaten the groundwater and surrounding environment.
A tender planned to be floated next month will seek to elicit proposals from the private sector on innovative ways of maximizing the recovery of commercially valuable ingredients from the waste tyres.  The scope and objectives of the keenly awaited tender will be discussed at a workshop targeted at interested companies next week. Studies commissioned by be’ah have yielded a wide array of business models and solutions that may be considered as part of an efficient tyre disposal strategy with minimal impact to the environment. Some of the raw materials used to produce car tyres can be salvaged and recycled for other purposes, according to one such study.  Such materials include natural and synthetic rubber, reinforcing fillers, chemical additives, textile cords, and metal cords.
Materials extracted from waste tyres can be suitably used as, among other things, surfaces for sports tracks, playgrounds and health clubs, port and ship fenders, floor mats and carpet underlays, landfill linings, under-road surfaces, highway embankments, road barriers, artificial reefs and coastal defences, roof tiles, noise control products, protection for young plants and trees, and structural support for earth walls. Semi-worn tyres can also be exported for retreading, studies point out.
be’ah is also looking at the experiences of advanced countries that have successfully and safely managed their end-of-life tyre waste.  The Netherlands, for example, has banned the disposal of tyres in landfills.  Waste tyres instead must processed and the byproducts either reused, recycled or utilized in waste-to-energy schemes.  Tyre manufacturers are also legally obliged to take back old tyres.