Compared to many start-ups, tire recycling requires minimum prior knowledge or disposable funds, which is why tire recycling always comes up as one of the best start-up businesses. The processes and equipment are accessible to anyone willing to invest the money, do the research, and organize a team. However, you must address some key challenges to make it in the tire recycling industry.
1. Processing Plant Downtime
The Problem: Tire recycling plants are mostly an automated assembly line process. A high return on investment depends largely on how many tires the plant processes daily. Downtime, when the equipment is not in use, occurs for a variety of reasons and can quickly cut into your bottom line.
● Stock Spare Parts – One of the best things you can do to prevent excessive recycling plant downtime is to obtain spare parts for equipment. Tire recycling machinery exposed to extreme heat or friction requires routine maintenance and regular replacement. These include the teeth, or blades in a tire shredder and conveyor belt parts such as idlers.
● Invest in Quality Equipment – While spare parts help shorten the time a plant may be inactive, investing in quality tire recycling equipment means fewer stoppages in the first place. Although generally slightly more expensive at the outset, quality equipment will pay dividends in the long run, as it doesn’t clog or break as easily. Having high-end primary tire shredders, like the ECO Giant tire shredder, may be the most crucial piece of equipment. Often, the speed of this first step determines how much the rest of the plant can process per hour.
● Focus on Employees – A final solution involves focusing on the employees that run the tire recycling plant. A well-trained employee who stays with your company for a long time can be crucial to keeping the plant running smoothly. Sometimes retaining employees and training them can be difficult when few people plan to work in a tire recycling factory for an extended period. Some ways to increase employee retention include:
➔ Having a personal relationship with each employee
➔ Putting effort into celebrations and work parties
➔ Offering incentives
➔ Hiring quality team members who others are excited about what they do
2. Securing Input Tires
The Problem: Scrap tires are heavy, cumbersome, and difficult to transport. A company’s productivity depends on maintaining a regular flow of these scrap tires from where they are abandoned to the tire recycling plant.
● Talk to Auto Mechanics – If getting scrap tires is like finding precious elements in the earth, auto mechanics are the gold mines. Since auto-mechanics replace tires on cars and trucks every day. They usually have a system of disposing of worn-out tires. If you can offer them an easier way to dispose of their tires, then bingo! Developing a relationship with auto mechanics can take time. Developing a steady flow of tires is worth the effort, though.
● Safely Stockpile Tires – Another way to ensure you have a constant supply of scrap tires is to keep a backlog stored near the processing plant. Tire piles constitute a significant fire hazard, so you’ll have to follow regulations and guidelines set out by the local government. Keeping a stockpile gives you some wiggle room when tire suppliers aren’t providing or when you’re switching between suppliers.
● Advertise Your Business – Many people have no idea tire recycling is even a thing, let alone where the nearest tire recycling plant would be. Advertising what you do and where you are located will increase tire supply as people finally know where to go to dump the tires they’ve had in their backyards for years.
3. Marketing the final product
The Problem: Old tires cannot be recycled into new tires. The final product of a tire recycling plant needs to be sold to a different industry. There are lots of options to choose from, so deciding which product to channel your output towards can be a challenge.
● Crumb Rubber – Of all the end-of-line tire recycling products, crumb rubber may be the most versatile. Crumb rubber generally has the fiber and metal found in tires separated out and has been reduced to pieces no bigger than two centimeters in diameter. Some of the uses of crumb rubber include:
➔ Artificial turf
➔ Playground surfacing
Although crumb rubber requires more processing than products like tire-derived fuel, you can often sell it for more per unit weight than a less processed product.
● Innovative Tire Recycling Products – Since end-of-life tires aren’t going out of style anytime soon, there has recently been a surge in innovative ways to recycle tires. For example, Green Distillation Technologies, based in Australia, recycles tires into carbon black, oil, and steel, which have countless uses. Another company is incorporating tire rubber into asphalt production to create safer, bouncier surfaces in cities. Participating in tire recycling innovation can be exciting and profitable.
● Tire-derived Fuel – As the world transitions from fossil fuels to renewables, tire-derived fuel is a great fallback or primary product for many tire recycling plants. Tire-derived fuel generally doesn’t have to be processed past the primary and secondary shredding stages and so is cheap to produce as well.
Ultimately, making it in the tire recycling business comes down to preparation, planning, and hard work. Tire recycling is a beneficial business venture for your own profit and to care for the environment. With that vision in mind and plenty of elbow grease, you can overcome all the challenges that will come up.