Rubber recycling plant in Hammarsdale

Tyre retreading is big business in South Africa and Mathe Group, one of South Africa’s largest used radial truck tyre recycling operations, will be cashing in on this with a multi-million-rand investment in a new line to recycle waste rubber from the retreading process.

Dr Mehran Zarrebini talks about tyre retreading in South Africa

According to Dr Mehran Zarrebini, CEO of British investment group PFE International, one of the largest investors in the recycler, because most goods travel by road rather than by rail, South Africa is one of the largest tyre recyclers in the world. Local retreaders process as many tyres per day as some of the largest operations in the United States.

An estimated 1,1 million new truck tyres are sold in South Africa each year. At the end of its useful life, 80% of a tyre can still be used provided the casing is not damaged. Because local transporters rely on retreaded tyres to reduce their CPKs (running cost per kilometre), most of these tyres are retreaded up to three times.

Added to this, a further 200 000 reusable casings are imported for retreading each year.

Dr Zarrebini likens the tyre retreading process to grating cheese! After inspection, the remaining rubber on a tyre casing is grated away in preparation for the addition of a new rubber tread. “The initial grate is course but, the closer to the tread base you get, the finer the resulting grate becomes. The grated rubber is known as buffing and it is this buffing that is either resold to recyclers or disposed of in landfills.”

As this rubber and used truck tyres degrade extremely slowly, this poses an enormous environmental hazard.

Each retreaded tyre generates between seven and 10 kilograms of buffing, making this a significant source of raw material for Mathe Group’s ever hungry Hammarsdale recycling plant.

During 2018, the operation doubled production and the factory currently recycles approximately 150 000 used radial truck tyres per annum.

Having grown out of a very small New Germany based operation that was launched in 2012, Mathe has gone from strength to strength since the opening of its new factory in Hammarsdale in February 2016. It currently operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has been under ongoing pressure to increase output.

“We have a full manufacturing programme and, because we currently sell all the crumb that we produce, we have been under significant pressure to increase capacity. Our primary focus is on sustainability and developing products manufactured from recycled materials. This latest investment is in line with that and also provides us with an opportunity to diversify further and create additional revenue streams,” Dr Zarrebini explains.

Rubber crumb produced from used radial truck tyres is used by the Van Dyck Floors factory in Durban for the manufacture of rubber flooring, paving, interlocking rubber mats and acoustic underlays for carpets which are exported to 50 countries across the world.  Mathe Group also has a wide customer base that buys rubber crumb for use as an infill for sports fields utilising artificial grass, for inclusion in modified bitumen for road resurfacing, the manufacture of non-slip paint and ballistics equipment.

The new plant, which was sourced in China and delivered this month (June), will be commissioned in July. It is expected to double output and create at least 10 new jobs. Zarrebini believes employment numbers will grow with output and uptake of the resulting new product.

 

tyre retreading process and rubber waste recycling

“Ours will be the first facility to process both whole tyres and retread for various industries including Van Dyck Carpets’ factory. We will also look to market these products to new clients in a similar manner as we did when we started the tyre recycling facility,” he says.

Both the production process and the end product that results from recycling waste from tyre retreading are completely different.

With the new line, the overall production process is simpler and faster and, unlike tyres, the rubber to be recycled is 100% wire and fabric free.

“The type of product manufactured will have a shredded surface which will then be bound and ideal for play areas requiring impact protection or rubber mulch for unusual areas that need to be landscaped. Rubber mulch can require minimal groundworks and no raised edging. It can be installed onto prepared grass, over grass mats or artificial grass, mounds and tree pits, gravel, paving, old bark pits or to overlay damaged or worn out wet pour,” he explains.

Dr Zarrebini says that Mathe Group will source rubber retread waste nationally. However, although up to 60 per cent of tyre retreading takes place in Gauteng and just 15 to 20 per cent in KwaZulu-Natal, it will initially try to maximise sourcing product from its home province in order to minimise the company’s environmental footprint.



Latest


03 Mar 2021
10 Commandments for proper construction

With the pandemic having created a survival mode for much smaller and emerging building contractors, it is now more important…

10 Commandments for proper construction

With the pandemic having created a survival mode for much smaller and emerging building contractors, it is now more important than ever for site staff to have at least a basic knowledge of concrete behaviour and performance in construction, says John Roxburgh, senior lecturer at the School of Concrete Technology.…

02 Mar 2021
Highlighting the fire risk faced by hospitals

The biggest challenge faced by hospitals; when it comes to fire risk; is that a large number of occupants are…

Highlighting the fire risk faced by hospitals

The biggest challenge faced by hospitals; when it comes to fire risk; is that a large number of occupants are either incapacitated or immobilised. This renders them extremely vulnerable; ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk highlights. Hospitals must be able to compartmentalise wards in the event of a fire so…

01 Mar 2021
Going green. How Harvey EcoTile® is transforming roofing.

A building’s green credentials are determined by a variety of factors such as water efficiency; energy efficiency; environmentally friendly materials;…

Going green. How Harvey EcoTile® is transforming roofing.

A building’s green credentials are determined by a variety of factors such as water efficiency; energy efficiency; environmentally friendly materials; waste reduction; lowering carbon emissions and sustainable development and growth. In pursuit of sustainable, revolutionary roofing, Harvey Roofing Products has developed the Harvey EcoTile®, a sustainably produced mineral composite roof…

01 Mar 2021
Cement & Concrete SA established to drive the industry to new heights

Cement & Concrete SA (CCSA) has today announced that the new consolidated industry body is open for business and is…

Cement & Concrete SA established to drive the industry to new heights

Cement & Concrete SA (CCSA) has today announced that the new consolidated industry body is open for business and is set to take the lead on all matters relating to cement and concrete in South Africa. The single non-profit entity, CCSA, was established through an extensive and thorough process of…


Top stories


23 Jan 2020
Refurbishment at North West University

As the three established divisions of Norcros SA, TAL, Johnson Tiles and Tile Africa recently played important roles in an…

Refurbishment at North West University

As the three established divisions of Norcros SA, TAL, Johnson Tiles and Tile Africa recently played important roles in an extensive tiling project at North-West University’s Potchefstroom campus in North West Province. The project entailed refurbishing the five-block Sports Village, a guest house facility providing accommodation for the public, athletes…

06 Mar 2020
7 Awe-inspiring marble use cases

Marble, an exceptionally versatile material used for centuries to create awe-inspiring art, majestic staircases, classic kitchens and resplendent flooring. With…

7 Awe-inspiring marble use cases

Marble, an exceptionally versatile material used for centuries to create awe-inspiring art, majestic staircases, classic kitchens and resplendent flooring. With today’s contemporary design trends, the wide selection of marble can be used in more ways than ever before.

05 Mar 2020
First Green Key Boutique Hotel in South Africa

21 Nettleton attains their Green Key Award from WESSA, becoming South Africa’s first boutique hotel to achieve this accolade for…

First Green Key Boutique Hotel in South Africa

21 Nettleton attains their Green Key Award from WESSA, becoming South Africa’s first boutique hotel to achieve this accolade for its efforts in sustainability. An exciting partnership between WESSA and 21 Nettleton has resulted in the private boutique hotel in Clifton, Cape Town being awarded the prestigious Green Key award.…

27 Feb 2020
The Nxuba wind farm Renewable Energy

In its ongoing efforts to showcase the potential that renewables can play in boosting the security of energy supplies in…

The Nxuba wind farm Renewable Energy

In its ongoing efforts to showcase the potential that renewables can play in boosting the security of energy supplies in South Africa, Enel Green Power (EGP) highlights its commitment to the country as it nears the completion of its Nxuba wind farm in the Eastern Cape. The company recently started…


Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za