In a significant development, Kuwait has started to address its waste problem and has begun recycling tires from its dump yard where more than 42 million old vehicle tires have been dumped in what is slated to be the world’s biggest tire graveyards.
The huge site of the tire dump is located just 4 miles (7 km) from a residential suburb with residents regularly complaining of noxious black smoke which was released from periodic large fires from the tire dump yard.
With Kuwaiti authorities deciding to build 25,000 new houses on the site, all the tires were shifted to a new location near the Saudi border at at al-Salmi, where recycling efforts have just begun.
At a plant run by the EPSCO Global General Trading recycling company, employees sort and shred scrap tyres, before pressing the particles into rubbery coloured flooring tiles.
“The factory is helping society by cleaning up the dumped old tyres and turning them into consumer products,” said EPSCO partner and CEO Alaa Hassan from EPSCO, while adding they also export products to neighboring Gulf countries and Asia.
“The EPSCO plant, which began operations in January 2021, can recycle up to 3 million tyres a year,” said Hassan.
Scrap tires are a major environmental problem globally because of the chemicals they can release when burned.
As of 2019, Kuwait had around 2.4 million vehicles as per data from Central Statistical Bureau, up from 1.5 million in 2010.
The government hopes al-Salmi will become a tyre recycling hub, with more factories planned.
“The Al Khair Group transported more than half of all the tires to the new site using up to 500 trucks a day and is planning to open a factory to burn the tires through a process called pyrolysis,” said Hammoud al-Marri, the company’s CEO.