Contec, a Polish company, has revolutionized the recycling of used tires by implementing an advanced pyrolysis process, creating a circular system for valuable raw materials.
Every year, approximately 1.5 billion tires end up as waste, posing environmental challenges. However, Contec has found a promising solution. Instead of letting tires accumulate in landfills, they utilize pyrolysis to break down the vulcanized rubber found in tires. This thermochemical process involves heating shredded tires in an oxygen-free environment at temperatures ranging from 400 to 700 degrees Celsius. As a result, large rubber molecules are transformed into smaller compounds, producing soot, gas, oil, and various chemicals.
Through this innovative approach, Contec can recover rubber and steel for reuse in the manufacturing of new tires. The extracted oil finds applications in the chemical and refining industries, while carbon black, essential for reinforcing rubber compounds used in tire production and serving as a pigment, is also obtained.
Although still in its early stages, Contec has successfully scaled up its process to a commercial level. Recently, the company secured significant funding of z? 70 million (approximately Php 900 million) from investors, including HiTech ASI, Pruszy?ski Sp. z o.o., and Mariusz Machci?ski. With this financial boost, Contec aims to expand the processing capacity of their plant from 10,000 to 33,000 tonnes of used tires per year.
Contec is not the only player in the quest for sustainable tire manufacturing and recycling. Other innovations, such as bio-based carbon black and tires made from recycled plastic, are already emerging as part of the industry’s effort to create a greener and more environmentally friendly approach.