Australian newspaper Perth Now tells the story of 4M Waste – a local tire recycling company pioneering in Perth, in the western part of Australia. According to Perth Now, everything started from a casual beer which later transformed into a business idea for three Perth men who hope to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

The founders, Michael Pennington and Mark Waller, set out on this journey after a discussion during drinks a year ago. The idea reached fruition in recycling end-of-life tires. Mr. Pennington said he realized he wanted to create a more sustainable future for his children after hearing most tires ended up in landfill.

Two friends partnered with Markus Raddatz, who came from a waste industry background, and set up a tire recycling facility, 4M Waste in Malaga, Australia earlier this year. Now Michael Pennington serves as the 4M Waste general manager at the Malaga facility that processes end-of-life tires used for road construction and playground surfaces.

The company receives truck tires from local businesses, separates the steel from the rubber and crushes the rubber into a crumb that is fine enough for roads, playground surfaces and rubber ramps. Mr. Pennington says that the company recycles 100% of tires arriving to the facility.

The general manager said while other companies exported old tires for recycling, their aim was to recycle material in the Western Australia. According to the general manager, after cutting the tire walls, they stripped the rubber from the bead, extracting the steel to go to scrap metal recycling.

“We strip the rest of the rubber off as well so we don’t have to throw anything off,” he said. To reduce the moisture content, the company stockpiles rubber chips for about two weeks before crushing them.

Perth Now says the crumb end product met Main Roads specifications to use in roads, with less than 1 per cent moisture and less than 0.1 per cent steel content.

“There’s a 3mm mesh – if the crumb is smaller than 3mm, it will fall through,” Mr. Pennington said. “If it’s too big, it will just circulate until it gets crushed and falls through the mesh.”

He added that machines and a conveyor belt system with magnets helped extract fibers and steel fragments from the rubber, with truck tires made up with 60 per cent rubber, 35 per cent steel and 5 per cent fiber. Currently, the company does not use passenger car tires because those contain more synthetic rubber, and Main Roads preferred the natural rubber found in truck tires. However, he said their goal was to expand the operation, which currently employed eight people, and set up a second system to process synthetic rubber.

The company has applied to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation for approval to operate the solid waste facility and used tire storage. According to the application, the business aims to recycle about 20,000 tires a year, with a maximum of 100 tires and 10 tons of crumb on site at any stage.

Article by Perth Now.