The project is currently underway and is expected to complete in June 2020
eTracks Tire Management Systems, a not-for-profit Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) has partnered with Algoma Steel to remove and recycle 850 tonnes of end-of-life tires in an effort to promote a more circular economy.
Established to help the tire industry meet new recovery and recycling regulations that rolled out in Ontario last year, eTracks is managing and partly funding this project which began in September 2019 at this Canadian steel producer’s facility in Sault Ste. Marie. The organization is collaborating with local haulers from across Northern Ontario to remove decades-old tires and bring them to recycling facilities capable of handling the intake.
“eTracks remains committed to building an ethical, cutting-edge and sustainable tire management system in Ontario. Even though this is beyond our usual scope, we recognized Algoma’s desire to have their legacy tires removed and recycled in an environmentally-friendly way and have partnered with local haulers to make it happen,” said Steve Meldrum, CEO of eTracks Tire Management Systems. “Some of the tires at the site range from three to twelve feet in diameter, so it wasn’t just the quantity but also the size of the tires that proved to be a challenge while facilitating their removal.”
The vast majority of these tires – with a combined weight equivalent of seven adult blue whales – will be recycled into new products and will be used in a variety of ways, such as turf for synthetic grass on sports fields, playground safety pads, sports arena mats, comfort flooring for livestock, rubberized asphalt and padding in safety helmets.
In the early 1990s, Algoma Steel implemented a “one-in, one-out” policy to ensure all tires were recycled on a go forward basis. While there had been several previous attempts to remove the older tires, their size and quantity posed logistical and recycling challenges, such as the distance to recycling facilities capable of handling such large tires, until now.
“It is important for us to deal of our legacy tires in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Fred Post, Algoma Steel Environment Control Manager “eTracks has made that possible, ensuring that our tires get recycled safely and responsibly.”
eTracks has also cleaned up tires from a variety of other sites across Northern Ontario, with an additional weight of 318 tonnes. Currently, over half of the tires at Algoma Steel have been removed with the balance slated for removal by June 2020.