Waste tires do not decompose easily in natural environments and are a pollution source if disposed of randomly. The EPA has put much effort into tire recycling, leading to a total of 13 tire processing enterprises in Taiwan. Between January and November 2019, 133,000 metric tons of waste tires were recycled, achieving a 93.6% recycling rate. The EPA has also worked with industry and academia to develop continuous waste tire devulcanization recycling technologies, which could to be used in the future to mass produce recycled products and help develop a circular economy.
Taiwan produces roughly 140,000 metric tons of waste tires annually. At present there are two types of tire recycling channels, depending on the source. Those produced by the general public, motorcycle shops, or bicycle shops are classified as general waste and can be given to local cleaning crews or disposed of in accordance with regulations. As for tires produced by tire shops and the vehicle maintenance industry – which are statutorily designated enterprises – they must be disposed by the enterprises themselves or by commissioned enterprises. The EPA Resource Recycling Website has been disclosing real-time waste tire recycling and processing capacity in Taiwan to facilitate the utilization of disposal channels.
Recycled tires are shredded and sorted into scrap rubber, rubber powder, steel wires, etc. at processing plants. Scrap rubber can substitute for coal as an auxiliary fuel or be used to produce fuels and carbon black through pyrolysis, while rubber powder is made into secondary raw materials that can be added to reclaimed rubber, soundproofing materials, floor mats, and various rubber products. Rubber powder can also be used in rubber asphalt road pavement or for making diving suits. All of the above are examples of waste tires being given renewed value through processing and reutilization technology.
The EPA stated that waste tires should be properly recycled as they do not decompose easily in the natural environment and could cause pollution if disposed of randomly. There are a total of 13 disposal enterprises currently in operation, which recycled 133,000 metric tons of waste tires between January and November 2019 for a recycling rate of 93.6%. Diversification of disposal and recycling channels has been promoted by the EPA. More than 120,000 metric tons of secondary raw materials made from waste tires are utilized every year. Moreover, in an attempt to improve recycling technology and develop high-value applications, the EPA has been working with industry and academia on developing continuous waste tire devulcanization recycling technologies. These technologies can be used to produce high-quality recycled rubber suitable for making various rubber products. The next step is collaborating with factories for mass production to further diversify processing technologies, increase reutilization values, and creating more green business opportunities.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (3)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)