Tyre Bales a Revolutionary Use for Old Car Tyres – PAS 108 Explained

Advantages of BSI PAS 108 Tyre Bales: A New Sustainable Use for a Problem Waste

One use of PAS 108 Tyre Bales (Pevensey, UK)
Image shows tyre bales in use at Pevensey.

A simple act by WRAP should revolutionise the use of tyre bales in civil engineering and landscape applications, sustainably using this material where otherwise resources would be wasted in their disposal.

It will be obvious to our Wastersblog waste management industry readers that the disposal of old vehicle tyres is generally a real headache. For the public, and as motorists we are all feeling the pinch from rapidly rising tyre disposal costs.

Certainly, the last time I bought a new tyre, the garage added several pounds to my bill for disposing of the old one.

A number of landfill operators have been using whole tyres for leachate drainage within landfills for some years as an engineering material. The feedback we have received suggests that they have found that using tyres as drainage layers in landfills provides adequate flow capabilities, at close to zero cost for this “leachate drainage material”.

However, the number of tyres needed for this use is relatively small. It would not not noticeably reduce in the volume of worn-out tyres which need to be disposed of annually if all landfills were drained in this way.

To re-use whole tyres in alternative applications, is hard manual labour. Imagine spending all-day manhandling individual tyres to stack them efficiently! It’s a tedious, dirty, and time consuming task. This fact alone has probably done a great deal to limit the uptake of tyre re-use.

It is true that granulated tyres have also been used for the purpose of leachate drainage. However, granulation is an energy-intensive process, and requires removal of the metal in tyres as well.

To re-use whole tyres, for landfill leachate drainage, was in the the past, as far as we are aware, just about the only “volume re-use” available.

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But, now a whole new range of uses has been opened up by a new British Standard. That use is for whole baled tyres. These are selected and baled in accordance with BSI PAS 108, the publicly available standard for Tyre Bales.

Since WRAP published this as a British Standards Institution (BSI) standard, and produced this Publicly Available Specification (PAS), in collaboration with the tyre reprocessing industry in 2008, the use has blossomed.

Almost overnight, as a result of the new standard “PAS 108 Tyre Bales”, baled tyres have become an engineering product with standard bale sizes and shapes, and most important of all, clear design strength data.

Designers and purchasers can now use the structural and drainage characteristics provided from the research done for the PAS, and incorporate tyre bales into their engineering designs, just like any other proprietary geo-synthetic material.

In short, providing a specification for producing compact tyre bales of a consistent and verifiable quality and dimension, in “PAS 108 Tyre Bales”, has opened up a new and potentially huge market for waste tyres.

The method re-uses tyres sustainably, when they are incorporated into engineering structures (such as the use in Pevensey for flood protection, as illustrated above). Such uses are sustainable, due to the reduction this use will have on the demand for the primary aggregate materials which are no longer needed. Primary aggregates are used in traditional gabion-walling. Gabion walling is the traditional way such walls were built in the past.

The important point here is that the “PAS 108 Tyre Bales” specification can be adopted by suppliers for producing tyre bales such that potential users of the bales will be assured that they are procuring a “construction material” or “product” of consistent and verifiable quality.

Furthermore, the core of this PAS document addresses the production, handling, storage, transport and placement of standardised tyre bales.

So, go find out more at the Landfill Site Tyre Bales page here, and you will also find the contact details for one of the first suppliers.

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