An estimate of over 120,000 metric tonnes of tires are discarded annually, meaning that about 10,000 metric tonnes of waste tires need to be processed every month. Of these, 8,600 metric tonnes are shredded, and the used tires are mainly sold to cogeneration plants and pulp and paper companies as a supplemental fuel. The EPA explains that the recycling channels of used tires are divided into two types, according to their sources. Used tires produced by households, motorcycle and bicycle repair stores are categorized as general wastes and should be handed to local waste collection teams. Those generated by specific industries, such as tire stores and automobile repair stores, have to be disposed of on their own or require waste treatment companies in accordance with Article 28 of the Waste Disposal Act.
After being transported to processing plants and before being shredded and reused, used tires will first have to be inspected and certified according to Article 39 of the Waste Disposal Act. There are three main ways to reuse waste tires: as a fuel alternative, using them as substitutes for coal; deriving tire oil and carbon black from them using pyrolysis; and granulating them for reuse as a feedstock material for other products.
Last year, the five reuse organizations that use tires as a fuel alternative all encountered different situations that suppressed the clearance of used tires (for example, suspension, reduction of used tires, damage to equipment). As a result, the total amount of discarded tire reuse declined to an average of 7,500 metric tonnes per month. In response to this problem, the EPA implemented various new strategies. First, the EPA assisted the existing reuse organizations to resume or even increase their use of shredded used tires as fuel. The EPA also assigned processing plants that still have available storage space to shred their used tires to increase the storage capacity. In this way, the EPA was able to store an extra 4,200 metric tonnes of used tires per month. In addition, the EPA simplified export processes to encourage foreign reuse companies to purchase shredded used tires from Taiwan and to expand more reuse channels. It is estimated that the amount of used tires exported to Japan for reuse purposes had exceeded 4,800 metric tonnes by the end of October this year.
According to statistics, the total amount of stockpiled used tires had decreased from 4,695 metric tonnes in March 2017 to 1,318 metric tonnes in the beginning of November 2017. In fact, the total amount of used tires piled up in Taiwan now is far lower than the permitted amount by 3,000 metric tonnes, which is only 43.9% of the total permitted amount. The statistics also indicate that the EPA’s administrative measures have effectively resolved the disposal problems caused by the insufficient reuse volume.
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)