6.2.6 Case studies

Case study 1- New markets for trash-tires

The demand for recycled waste products for use as raw materials in the production process is growing over time. Companies are willing not only to provide recycled waste products at a low cost merely to avoid disposal costs, but they can also provide a steady supply.
In each country, car and truck users dispose of millions of tyres per year. Billions of tyres are stocked in remote location where they pose environmental hazards.
In 1981, a research chemist named Ed Stark developed a process for coating ground-up tire particles with a polymer that “rejuvenated” the rubber, allowing it to bond together as effectively as uncured virgin materials.

The recycling approach (strategy) in this case benefited from the fact that:

  • the process made no environmental compromises
  • it used no water, it had no contaminated effluent to dispose of
  • the process did not involve combustion so the air pollutants associated with

combustion were not a problem either.

This process had since formed the basis of “Tirecycle”, a company set up in Babbitt, Minnesota, to recycle all of Minnesota’s old tires.1
Products made from this material included truck tyre retreads, buckets, wastebaskets, gasoline tanks, truck bed lines, and gymnasium exercise mats etc.

Case study 2 Management of end-of-life vehicles

The Community approach to waste management is based on two complementary strategies:2

  • avoiding waste by improving product design, and;
  • increasing the recycling and re-use of waste.

DENSO is a big Japanese company3 but its approach to recycling can be applied in SMEs as well. DENSO has set the following three goals for product recyclability:

  • A recyclability rate of at least 95% for vehicle parts, leading to the achievement of a recyclability rate of at least 95% for end-of-life vehicles by 2015
  • Measures based on future improvements in recycling technology, including the improvement of disassembly and separability characteristics, the use of highly recyclable materials, and the use of uniform materials
  • The advancement of material recycling technology


1 Powell J.: Resource recycling, 1988
2 European Union: Summaries of legislations. Management of end-of-life vehicles, http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/s15002.htm
3 DENSO Corporation: Environment Report 2001. Recycling, www.densomedia-na.com/pdfs/environmental%20report%202000.pdf