These tires are wasting away in Kuwait’s recyclable graveyard.
The dumpsite is home to more than 42 million rubber tires that are just beginning to be recycled in an effort to reduce the country’s waste problem.
It is one of the world’s largest tire graveyards but is just a mere four miles away from a suburb, where residents were complaining of large fires releasing plumes of black smoke. Instead of burning the waste like before, they’re recycling instead.
Kuwait wants to build 25,000 homes on the site, so it is moving the tires to a new recycling plant in al-Salmi, which is near the Saudi border.
The plan is run by EPSCO Global General Trading, a recycling company, where its employees sort, shred and scrap tire parts. The end result is rubbery-colored floor tiles.
“The factory is helping society by cleaning up the dumped old tires and turning them into consumer products,” said EPSCO partner and CEO Alaa Hassan.
The company also exports the rubbery recycling remnants to other neighboring countries and can recycle up to 3 million tires per year, according to the company.
The tires were transported to the new location using up to 500 trucks a day via the Al-Khair Group.
According to CEO Hammoud al-Marri, the company is planning on opening a factory to also burn tires through pyrolysis, which produces oil that can be used in industrial furnaces like at cement factories.
Kuwait’s 4.5 million population had approximately 2.4 million vehicles in 2019, according to Central Statistical Bureau data, which was an increase of 1.5 million from the previous decade.
The government hopes that the plant in al-Salmi will transform into a tire recycling hub and expand to multiple factories.