Tyre manufacturer Goodyear’s upgraded waste yard, which was officially commissioned in July last year, has enabled the company to recycle 98% of its waste and maintain its zero-waste-to-landfill policy, which it has been executing since 2008.
The new yard, which is situated at the company’s manufacturing plant in Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape, was established through a R2.4-million joint investment between Goodyear and its recycling partner, The Waste Trade Company.
Goodyear Group brand communications manager Lize Hayward says the waste yard ensures easier processing and storage of waste, deals with fire-protection issues associated with storing large quantities of potentially combustible materials and enhances the overall aesthetics of the Uitenhage premises.
“We generate about 21 t/d of waste, of which 98% is recycled and the balance thermally destroyed. None of our solid waste is landfilled,” she says, adding that Goodyear is currently the only manufacturing facility in South Africa that succeeds in adhering to a zero-waste-to-landfill policy.
The company’s waste ranges from raw-material packaging and containers to scrap tyres and various types of process-related waste, such as rubber offcuts. Wood, cardboard, glass, metal, oils, paper and plastics also contribute to the waste.
“All our solid waste is classified as recyclable or nonrecyclable. Recyclable waste, such as paper, cardboard, plastic, rubber, metal, glass, oil, wood and electronic items, are sent to our outsourced waste management contractor, which ensures that the various types of waste are correctly transported and reprocessed at various recycling institutes.
“Nonrecyclable waste, such as production waste and hazardous waste in the form of used oils and contaminated rags, is sent for thermal destruction. Our liquid waste is also thermally destroyed. Intact scrap tyres are used as fuel source, to make animal feed stations for the agriculture industry and as road surfacing components,” says Hayward.
Before the waste is collected for recycling, it has to be stored safely and securely in an area that is legally compliant with the National Environmental Management Waste Act.
Hazardous waste is stored in a hazardous-waste store that was built as part of the new waste yard. The area has a roof to prevent rainwater pollution and a concrete floor to prevent seepage into the ground. It is also sprinkler-protected to ensure compliance with local and corporate fire protection standards, says Hayward.Meanwhile, Goodyear s
aves millions of litres of water a month through a threefold approach.
Wastewater from its boiler house is recycled, runoff water is collected and reused, and steam condensate from various production processes is recovered. The recovered water is either redirected through the plumbing system to the company’s toilets or used for cooling machinery.
The company reported in January 2010 that it had saved 5.6-million litres of water in just two months by using the threefold system.
Further, since September 2010, Goodyear has provided streamed waste collection bins for the public, which facilitates recycling and generates funds that are put back into community projects.
“As environmental awareness about recycling increases, many people would like to help the planet but are not sure how. The streamed waste bins give community members an opportunity to do their part,” says Hayward.
Cans, glass, paper and plastic collected in these bins can be dumped into specially provided waste collection bins. The collection point is situated in the parking area of the company’s Uitenhage facility.
This is another joint venture between Goodyear and The Waste Trade Company.
The tyre manufacturer is also responsible for the launch of the Groenspoor project, an initiative aimed at educating the Eastern Cape community, through schools, about the value of recycling and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.
The project was launched in September 2011 and is ongoing, with a trophy awarded to the school that collects the most waste on a quarterly basis.
“We are also encouraging businesses to hand over their waste to schools to help them win the trophy,” says Hayward.
She notes that the company plans to start working on another phase of the project, which it hopes to launch next year.
“This will create an opportunity for schools to showcase the environmental initiatives of various businesses through artwork that is to be published in a local newspaper,” says Hayward.
The company’s future plans also include a further reduction in the amount of waste it sends for thermal destruction.
“We aim to do this by investigating possible technologies which can assist in recovering energy from waste, and by dealing with process-related issues that generate the waste.
“This could include possible investment in more technology, increasing operator awareness and driving continuous improvement through close collaboration between our Continuous Improvement and Health and Safety departments,” Hayward points out.