Re-treading business brings new life to waste tyres

The Managing Director of Bandag SA, Mr John Laskarides, shares how re-treading not only gives tyres a new lease on life, but also plays a part in dealing with the environmental burden of waste tyres.

According to the current environmental policy, re-treading tyres significantly prolongs the use of a product that normally turns into waste after its ‘first’ use. Since everything except the tread rubber can be re-used, re-treading tyres helps lower consumption of raw materials such as natural and synthetic rubber, which are both produced using petroleum, while at the same time decreasing the number of waste tyres being disposed of.

Bandag SA is a company that has seen this as an opportunity for further growth and development. Bandag is the country’s oldest re-treader having started operations nearly fifty years ago, and is important in the waste tyre value chain as a ‘waste’ tyre can get up to four ‘new’ lives through re-treading. The company currently employs 212 people directly and a further 1200 through its franchise network. “I am particularly proud that Bandag continues to increase its employment levels and that our business has grown by four times since we acquired the company,” says Mr Laskarides.

Bandag SA purchases a portion of its raw materials in the form of rubber crumb from Energia Rubber Technology, in which Bandag has a 29% share. The raw materials are then used in the manufacture of the tread rubber applied to useable worn tyres.

Currently in the truck and bus replacement tyre market, it is believed that there is one re-tread tyre sold, for every new tyre sold. If re-treading was not in place, we would see twice as many tyres needing to be disposed of – and it’s fair to say we would have double the waste tyre problem we have now.

Bandag’s core business is reusing as many tyres as possible, contributing significantly to reducing the burden on the environment by eliminating the need for another tyre that needs to be disposed of. In line with safety and quality regulations, when the tyre is not reusable, the re-treader destroys the tyre and sends it to the recycling plant via REDISA, for it to be granulated and processed into rubber crumb.

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