Archive for August, 2010

Where have all the Old Tyres Gone?

Channel 7’s “This Day Tonight” program knows!

Their August 19th program tracked down container after container full of worn out tyres, shipped to Vietnam.

Asian countries don’t have the strict environmental controls that we have, and are hungry for cheap energy sources.

Such as worn out tyres, which burn very well in a furnace.

Pollution? What’s that? They are so hungry for energy, they don’t care.

This is where a proportion of the environmental levy ( $2 to $3) that you pay for the tyre dealer to dispose of your old tyres in an environmentally safe manner, goes.

Some goes direct to the dealer, some to the collector, some to the shipper and the internal transport system of the destination country. The trail has been so successful that it has put a number of rubber re-processing firms in Australia out of business. The auction columns have been full of processing plants for sale. These had large machines designed to cut the tyres up into smaller pieces. The tyres shipped overseas are uncut, but baled together to save shipping space.

Each tyre involves a lot of handling before it finally is consumed by the flames, so cheap labour is of real assistance.

The by-products of combustion include oxides of sulphur, oil by-products (soot and ash); and by-products from the many chemicals used in tyre making, some quite complex. Carbon black ( around 35% of a tyre) burns to give carbon dioxide, if there is enough oxygen.

A rich source of material for global warming, and contaminating the atmosphere. Far outweighed, however, by the smoke pall generated by forest clearing so that farmers can grow palm oil, which is very profitable.


August 25, 2010 at 5:00 am 4 comments