Kuwait starts to recycle massive tire graveyard

    23 Sep 2021

    More than 42 million old vehicle tyres

    dumped in Kuwait’s sands have started to be recycled, as the country tackles a

    waste problem that created one of the world’s largest tyre graveyards, GD

    online reports.

    The massive dumpsite was a mere 7 km (4

    miles) from a residential suburb where residents were bothered by periodic

    large fires releasing noxious black smoke.

    But this month Kuwait, which wants to

    build 25,000 new houses on the site, finished moving all the tyres to a new

    location at al-Salmi, near the Saudi border, where recycling efforts have begun.

    At a plant run by the Epsco Global General

    Trading recycling company, employees sort and shred scrap tyres, before

    pressing the particles into rubbery coloured flooring tiles.

    “The factory is helping society by

    cleaning up the dumped old tyres and turning them into consumer products,”

    said Epsco partner and chief executive Alaa Hassan, adding they also export

    products to neighbouring Gulf countries and Asia.

    The Epsco plant, which began operations in

    January 2021, can recycle up to 3 million tyres a year, the company said.

    Scrap tyres are a major environmental

    problem worldwide due to their bulk and the chemicals they can release.

    Kuwait, an Opec member with a population

    around 4.5 million, had about 2.4 million vehicles in 2019, Central Statistical

    Bureau data shows, up from 1.5 million in 2010.

    The government hopes al-Salmi will become

    a tyre recycling hub, with more factories planned.

    The Al Khair Group transported more than

    half of all the tyres to the new site using up to 500 trucks a day and is

    planning to open a factory to burn the tyres through a process called

    pyrolysis, its CEO Hammoud al-Marri said.

    Pyrolysis produces a type of oil that can

    be sold for use in industrial furnaces such as cement factories, and ash known

    as carbon black that can be used in various industries.

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