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Waste tyres to be turned into cement

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/06/2017

Millions of old tyres are to be shredded and turned into cement, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

Under the initiative, private businesses will pocket $19 million in government grants to help them invest in technologies to dispose of the five million waste tyres thrown away in New Zealand each year.

"We have dozens of tyre stockpiles around the country posing a fire risk, leaching contaminants, providing a breeding ground for rodents and insects, and blotting the landscape," Dr Smith said on Thursday.

"This initiative proposes controls on new stockpiles, establishes a nationwide collection and shredding operation and provides a large-scale end use by installing technology to enable waste tyres to be used in cement manufacture."

The grants include $3.8m towards Waste Management New Zealand's $6.8m investment in creating tyre collection and shredding facilities in Auckland and Christchurch.

The shredded tyres can then more easily be used in making concrete, with Golden Bay Cement receiving a $13.6m government grant to help it pay for $18.1m of new equipment.

The company will dispose of 3.1 million tyres each year by incinerating the tyres to extract steel for use in cement and a rubber biofuel to be burned in place of coal.

Dr Smith said this not only helped dispose of unwanted tyres but reduced greenhouse emissions.

Golden Bay Cement is New Zealand's fifth largest emitter and the rubber biofuel used in place of coal would reduce emissions by 13,000 tonnes per year, or the equivalent of 6000 cars, he said.

The government also provided $1.2m grants to seven smaller tyre waste projects, aiming to turn the tyres into products for use in rubber underlay, sound proof building materials and roads and cycleways.

The government's $19m grants would allow private businesses to spend a total of $28m investing in ways to dispose of waste tyres, Dr Smith said.

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