Approximately 1 billion tires reach the end of their lives annually around the world, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Most are discarded to landfills or shipped to developing countries, creating harmful impacts on the environment. CEVA Logistics has historically been a leader in tire transport and distribution and is now focusing on creating a circular economy for the tire industry where end-of-life tires, or ELT, are sustainably and responsibly managed.
Madhu Thiricode, Global Head Sub-Sector Tire & Rubber, CEVA Logistics, spoke about CEVA’s sustainable tire circular economy solution in partnership with Klean Industries, Inc. and Goodpack at the World Circular Economy Forum organized by the International Rubber Study Group. These three companies are exploring the responsible management of ELT and how such a solution could change the tire industry as a whole.
One of the biggest challenges of wasted tires is stockpiling. When tires are deemed end-of-life, they are removed from vehicles and discarded. Stockpiles of tires from retailers are transported to landfills where they become breeding grounds for dangerous pests and deteriorate, affecting water and soil quality.
Tire stockpiles are also baled and shipped to developing countries, where pest and pollution problems spread, and unsustainable repurposing or recycling practices occur. Alternatively, they remain in landfills, emitting methane gas or becoming a fire hazard. Tires are prone to resurfacing despite landfill coverage, and if caught on fire, they expel harmful toxins like sulfur and CO2 into the air. Rubber burns at a very high temperature, and tire fires are exceptionally difficult to extinguish, making them a significant hazard to both people and the environment.
CEVA Logistics is strongly committed to the protection of the environment. To reimagine and recreate how unusable tires are managed is an ideal opportunity for CEVA Logistics to exert logistical expertise and reduce environmental impacts.
CEVA is partnering together with Klean Industries, a leading company providing technologies and solutions to solve the global ELT issue and Goodpack, a world leader in reusable metal containers, to develop a full circle supply chain solution for ELT. This partnership will leverage the expertise and resources of each company to create measurable change in the end-of-life tire problem. The proposed solution combines green logistics, sustainable processes and digital technology infrastructure that will work together for a low-carbon, circular economy with an overall goal of zero waste to landfill.
The proposed solution involves three major processes:
Led by CEVA Logistics, retailers and other tire dealers will gain access to tire drop-off points. CEVA will collect the tires and transport them to Klean processing plants. This important first step kicks off the ELT cycle by simply avoiding unnecessary and unsafe stockpiling.
Recycling and repurposing
The end-of-life tires will be delivered to processing plants where resources, such as virgin carbon black and renewable fuels, will be created and used to produce new green products with significantly lower carbon intensity throughout the manufacturing and production supply chain. Tire byproducts will be stored in Goodpack’s reusable, eco-friendly metal containers during the recycling and repurposing process.
Scanning and data collection
When tires are taken into inventory at the Klean plants, they will be analyzed to determine if they are still usable on vehicles and should be put back into inventory. If they are deemed unusable, they would then be moved into the recycling and repurposing process. This data and all recycling and repurposing activities will be tracked by sophisticated technology called the Klean Loop™, a SaaS blockchain technology to track and trace all aspects of a tire’s lifecycle. The data will provide full transparency, enabling supply chain partners to track and improve financial and environmental performance.
The joint solution for end-of-life tires will revolutionize the industry and create eco-friendly practices in a much-needed sector.
“Together, we will work to create a solution that includes green logistics, low carbon intensity manufacturing and distribution. Combined with a digital technology infrastructure, this solution will transform the tire industry and support the goal of zero tire waste to landfill.” - Madhu Thiricode, Global Head Sub-Sector Tire & Rubber, CEVA Logistics.