Crumb rubber funds expected to reduce Tasmanian tyre waste
Tyre Plant for Tasmania
Tasmania has had a long-standing issue with end-of-life tyres. Over the years, various projects have been proposed and either declined or failed to materialise. Now, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson said the government had committed $4 million to work with industry to establish a crumbing plant in Tasmania.
Mr Ferguson said the government would use recycled rubber from truck tyres in road resurfacing this year as part of its commitment to waste reduction and fostering a circular economy.
“Crumb rubber has already been used on several resurfacing sites in the North of the state this summer, including on the Bass, East Tamar and West Tamar highways,” he said.
Tyres are processed into crumb rubber in Victoria before being blended with bitumen at Fulton Hogan’s plant in Launceston for use in road resurfacing.
Fulton Hogan state manager Sam Allan said the use of crumb rubber was an effective way to recycle old tyres, which also improved the longevity of bitumen roads.
Although the crumbing takes place on the mainland in Victoria, Mr Allan said the process is still cost-effective and provides the environmental benefit of reducing tyre waste.
“It’s definitely cost-effective in comparison to a virgin polymer that you manufacture,” he said.
With demand for the product needing to rise before a crumbing plant in Tasmania was to become viable, Mr Allan said the government’s investment would help drive the use of crumb rubber in the state. “There needs to be enough market to support a crumbing plant,” he said.
“Currently, there’s been great uptake on this product, but we need more uptake to provide a sustainable market for a crumbing plant.”
The proposals for the tyre recycling facility will also be strengthened by a fixed blending facility Fulton Hogan intend to build at their Mowbray facility.
“Tyre Stewardship Australia is currently supporting us with a couple of different projects,” Mr Allan said.
“We are investing $1.3 million on this site to put a fixed blending facility so we will have crumb rubber binder in Tasmania at all times.”
Mr Ferguson said the government would work with industry to look for opportunities to utilise crumb rubber from the 1.3 million tyres abandoned in Tasmania each year in road resurfacing on the island.