weibold! Academy: How to improve tire collection in small cities

Dear Readers,

Month by month, our weibold! Academy series dwells deeper into the world of tire recycling, its products and applications. In case you have missed our previous articles, you can find the links at the end of this article.

Improving waste tire collection system in small cities

This month we will tell you how to improve tire collection in cities with less than 100,000 inhabitants. This article draws on the paper by Fagundes, Amorim and Lima “Action research in reverse logistics for end-of-life tire (ELT) recycling”. It can serve as a basis of information and references helping decision-makers and public authorities to launch or improve tire recycling programs in small cities.

In order to avoid damaging the environment, end-of-life tires require special treatment at the end of their life cycle. To ensure that, a robust tire collection system should be established. Often waste tire collection in small cities turns out to be nettlesome, as system fails to ensure concerted actions of final consumers, government and private sector. Seeking ways for improvement, a group of researchers set off for Brazil to reshape an existing system.

In 2015, an action research was carried out in Tres Coracoes (Minas Gerais state) a small Brazilian city, where the population does not exceed 100,000 people. In Brazil, waste tires are collected under the national ELT disposal program called Reciclanip, which was organized by large tire manufacturers such as Bridgestone, Goodyear, Michelin and Pirelli, Continental and Dunlop. Whereas it is mandatory for the big cities, remote towns of the country may perform voluntary tire collection, if their population is under 100,000 inhabitants. To open and administer tire collection points, Reciclanip relies on help of municipal governments, which often fail to ensure proper waste tire collection due to limited budgets.

Municipality of Tres Coracoes voluntarily engaged in partnership with Reciclanip in 2010 to attain proper end-of-life tire disposal. Over the next 4 years, it managed to collect only 109,71 tons of ELT.

Drawbacks of tire collection system in Tres Coracoes according to the study conducted by Fagundes, Amorim and Lima

Preliminary analysis showcased several drawbacks to the system:

  • Through the partnership with Reciclanip, the municipality organized a collection point which was not supported by any fees or taxes. At the same time, used tire receiving points (tire dealers, repair shops, etc.) were responsible to deliver used tires to collection points at their own expense.
  • Additional bureaucratic hurdle was a perplexed transportation declaration, being also the responsibility of the parties involved. This was combined with the obligation to declare the number of tires and stockpile them in proper order.
  • Waste tires were stored at collection points until sufficient quantity was stockpiled to fill a truckload. Afterwards, tires were supposed to be picked up by Reciclanip.

To make sure that there are no other serious drawbacks in the tire collection system, an action research was performed. To thoroughly analyze collection system, additional data on logistics and convenience of service were collected.

Data collection

To collect the data, participant observation techniques, individual interviews and questionnaires were used. Partly, the data were collected by the SEMMA – municipal secretary for environment – action-research team and other entities. Visits to tire collection points, meetings with public administration representatives, local businesses and surveys helped to gather sufficient volume of information.

The next step was to diagnose the situation faced by the most common collection points users: businesses, resellers and retailers. Interviews and visits were conducted to better understand these points with twenty companies (10 resellers, 9 repair shops and 1 scrap collector). They were identified using a control list maintained by SEMMA.

It turned out that:

  • Proper disposal of the tires is not done by most of the stakeholders who deliver tires to the collection points. Generally the tires are thrown into a disorganized pile. This causes nuisance with storage space, difficulty in management and handling, and even enables water accumulation posing a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Despite using the Transportation Declaration, quite often it was not filled out correctly nor forwarded. Hence, there was no proper control over the quantity of end-of-life tires. Verification of quantities was done visually based on experience.

While studying collection and generating points, two main questions for the AR team were:

  • What is the main difficulty for the receiving points to correctly dispose of the ELT? The answer was the cost of transportation to the collection points.
  • Which improvements could the city government implement so that ELT are delivered to collection points? The business owners believe that the main improvement could be a regular pickup of tires instead of the “on demand” collection. In this scenario, the collection would be scheduled and a single truck would run a route to cover all the generating points within a regular schedule.

Based on the findings, the following action plan was proposed:

  1. Create municipal legislation to regulate the disposal of end-of-life tires using benchmarking shared with other municipalities.
  2. Create and maintain regular public communication which would raise awareness about the importance and environmental impact of tire disposal with the receiving points and general public.
  3. Implement a regular collection system in the city at the ELT receiving points on fixed dates and at no initial cost to the participating businesses.

Action research:

After the planning phase, the action research (AR) team placed the plan into action. The three main actions are described below.

Proposal 1 – “Creation of Municipal Legislation”

A Legislation Proposal was created by the AR Team, based on 17 laws already in effect in 14other Brazilian municipalities of various size and population. The bill proposed for Tres Coracoes establishes procedures for reversed logistics, handling and environmentally-friendly disposal of end-of-life tires. The following items detailed and defined:

  • Clear definitions of responsibilities: Commercial establishments, made up of distributors, tire repair shops, scrappers, service providers and tire handlers, must possess safe locations to store end-of-life tires, according to applicable norms and legislation. Individuals and companies must use these locations to discard their end-of-life tires.
  • Environmental education: the city must organize and execute a campaign to raise awareness about the risks end-of-life tires pose to the environment and public health, focusing on the importance for correct disposal.
  • Necessary infrastructure for temporary storage, proper piling and storage methods: end-of-life tires shall be stored in an organized manner, in piles, in order to ensure safety. Storage facilities should be audited by relevant entities. The temporary storage place shall be compatible with the volume of the material stored and must not have water drainage systems linked to the sewer or rainwater systems.
  • The tires shall be kept in an environment covered by tile roofs or some other hard surface and cannot be covered by plastic tarps or similar materials, which are subject to eventual deterioration.
  • Provision of penalties for lack of compliance;
  • Regulation for incineration: burning of these tires will be authorized by the municipality only for duly authorized establishments which carry out such services with permission from the Brazilian Institute for Environment and Renewable Resources (IBAMA) and the Municipal Environmental Council (CODEMA).
  • Provision for eventual partnerships: the municipality may establish partnerships with public or private entities to aid in the collection process for generation points, through mutual cooperation and partnerships.

Proposal 2 – “Education and Communication”

Here, the second opportunity for improvement was explored: creating and maintaining regular communication mechanisms regarding the importance of reversed logistics and the project developed for end-of-life tires. The overall aim was for the population to have recurring information about the treatment given to the tires in Tres Coracoes; the concept being that once the project was more well-known, the population would become more involved and cooperative with the initiative. The other two releases sought to inform the public about the collection process, partnership with the local businesses, and the specific impacts of proper tire disposal on health and safety preservation.

Proposal 3– “Active Collection”

The third improvement proposal was the inclusion of companies that participated in the assessment into an active end-of-life tire collection process. The implementation happened simultaneously, in conjunction with the other two proposals. With SEMMA’s authorization, an autonomous service was hired to collect the tires, financed by the AR Team. To facilitate the trajectory and save time, the AR Team created routes which covered all the ELT generating points. The routing proposal was submitted to SEMMA for analysis and, once validated, the pick-ups were scheduled. A member of the secretary accompanied the pickup process throughout the entire route. Six active collections were done over the course of seven months.

Results

At the end of the six pickups done by the AR team, 28.45 tons of end-of-life tires were collected. Until 2014, 109.71 tons of tires had been disposed over the course of 53 months, representing a monthly average of 2.07 tons. The active collections throughout a 9-month period yielded a monthly average of 3.16 tons (50% increase), which reinforces the effectiveness of active collection, along with the other actions, to enable correct tire disposal. Over the first four months, overall value charged for freight per added up to some USD 125 per month, and was adjusted to some USD 150 from the fifth month on (volume of waste tires transported varied from 2.7 to 8.6 tons every month). A truck route was mapped for the active collection; a simplified spreadsheet was designed for collection points and replaced transportation declaration. In addition, a disposal manual was created and distributed for clear instructions.

This research shows that tire collection systems established by municipalities should be well thought out and easy-to-enforce for people and businesses. The latter, among other factors, remains the main prerequisite for successful operation of tire collection programs.

To find out more about tire recycling and collection programs, tire recycling and pyrolysis applications and markets, send us your inquiry to robert@weibold.com. Please contact us to request more information on this topic. We will be happy to help you build a flourishing tire recycling and pyrolysis business!

Links to our previous newsletters:

  1. Welcome to weibold! Academy
  2. weibold! Academy: Recycled Rubber Output Spectrum and Rubber Granulates
  3. weibold! Academy: Rubber Granulates, Rubber Powder, Tire Derived Steel and Tire Derived Fiber
  4. weibold! Academy: Tyre Recycling Value Chain
  5. weibold! Academy: Applications for Tyre Recycling Plant Output
  6. weibold! Academy: Rubber Granulate Applications
  7. weibold! Academy: Rubber Powder Applications – Rubber Industry
  8. weibold! Academy: Rubber Powder Applications – Surface Coatings
  9. weibold! Academy: Success Factors in the Tire Recycling Industry
  10. weibold! Academy: Understanding Tire Recycling Technology
  11. weibold! Academy: Total Quality Management in Tire Recycling
  12. weibold! Academy: Applications for Fibers from End-of-Life Tires
  13. weibold! Academy: Safety and health effects of crumb rubber infill in artificial turf
  14. weibold! Academy: Tire pyrolysis – products and applications
  15. weibold! Academy: Tire-derived fuel in cement production

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