REDISA plans to potentially offset 178 500 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2014.
A tree can absorb as much as 21.8kg of carbon dioxide per year, and with age, it absorbs even more each year. By the time it reaches 40 years old it will have consumed 1 ton of carbon dioxide, according to North Carolina state university. Through the remediation of waste tyres the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) has potentially offset 67 289 tonnes of carbon emissions since beginning operations a year ago – what would have taken one tree 3 086 years to achieve.
These calculations are based on the presumption that all waste tyres remediated through the REDISA plan would have been burned -a trend which has become prevalent in our communities where tyres are burned either for warmth, or to remove the steel wire for sale.
The burning of tyres has a harmful effect to the environment; Zinc and Lead found in burned waste tyres can leach through the soil and pollute ground water. Further to that, there are severe health risks involved with tyre burning. Tyres contain toxic and carcinogenic gases which can cause cancer and lung related diseases, says REDISA director Stacey Davidson.
Several tactics have been undertaken by REDISA to remediate waste tyres, which include pyrolysis, crumbing, and controlled burning in cement kilns. To date, 1919 tonnes of waste tyres have been remediated through the pyrolysis process, 4098 tonnes have gone to tyre crumbing and the majority, 4164 tonnes, have gone to cement kilns.
“While many may believe that cement kilns are a controversial choice as they tend to have higher carbon emissions than other forms of tyre remediation, it still remains a far better option than the burning of waste tyres in communities. As the five year REDISA plan continues to roll out, it is expected that cement kilns will play less of a role as the new tyre recycling industry is developed,” says Davidson.
The 4164 tonnes of tyres which have gone to kilns have offset 593 tonnes of carbon dioxide through the controlled burning process. Comparatively, 10618.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide would have been emitted if the tyres had been burned in an uncontrolled environment. In 2014, REDISA plans to potentially offset 178 500 tonnes of carbon emissions.