Fleet News

Tyres: Wrapping up those used tyre problems

FLEETS are being called to action to tackle a growing waste crisis caused by the millions of used tyres they throw away each year.

Company cars and vans are responsible for a large proportion of the millions of tyres thrown away each year in Britain alone.

The problem facing the Government and environmentalists is that tyres are made to last and would take thousands of years to degrade naturally.

A fleet of 500 vehicles, where the average mileage is 20,000 per year and tyres are renewed on average annually, disposes of about 2,000 tyres a year.

The total number of tyres disposed of annually is an incredible 30 million.

Landfill has been a traditional first option, but space is running out fast and local authorities are being pressured to find new alternatives.

It isn’t just an environmental issue either, as charges to cover the cost of disposal are becoming a standard feature of most tyre replacement bills.

Most fast-fit firms charge between 50p and £1 to cover the increased costs of tyre disposal.

Because fleets produce much of the waste, they can help with ideas for what to do with the tyres they use, according to the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

WRAP, which was established in 2001 in response to the Government’s Waste Strategy 2000 to promote sustainable waste management, finds new uses for used tyres. It is urging fleets to be as responsible as possible when disposing of used tyres.

It wants to develop the UK’s markets for used tyres by promoting new areas for the re-use or re-processing of used tyres.

Steve Waite, materials project manager for tyres at WRAP, said: ‘We would welcome suggestions for programme improvement from any sector of the fleet industry.’

In addition to any alternative ideas provided by the fleet industry, there are numerous schemes to avoid landfill.

Scrap tyres are ground down to make material for carpet underlay, surfacing for playgrounds and they are also used under the sea to prevent coastal erosion and in river bank protection.

A tender process has just been launched to explore the opportunities for recycled rubber derived from waste tyres in applications such as civil engineering, construction and surfacing, as well as a range of other materials and products.

Controversially, they can also be burnt in special power stations to provide electricity, although there are concerns about the emissions this process creates.

But this still isn’t enough and WRAP will be launching a new industry forum in the near future to allow consultation with manufacturers, retailers, recyclers and end users of rubber materials recycled from tyres.

  • Visit www.wrap.org.uk.
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