Finding the economic potential in waste tyres
While the informal sector manages to put bread on the table for many South Africans, there is a clear demand for more support for innovation and skills in the entrepreneurship sphere. Mathe Group, a small KwaZulu-Natal-based business registered with the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (Redisa), is one sterling example of how this can be done.
Set up in 2010 by Vusumuzi Mathe, an entrepreneur who has worked extensively in the construction industry in Gauteng since 1985, Mathe Group started manufacturing limited quantities of rubber crumb or granulate in late 2011. In 2014 a joint venture was formed between Mathe Group and British investment group PFE International Inc, and the company became an authorised recycler and processor of waste tyres with Redisa.
Tyres disposed of through fitment centres are collected and transported to their premises at no cost. These are turned into 100-percent recycled rubber crumb for the manufacturing of pure rubber acoustic carpet flooring underlays and acoustic cradles – which are used as under-floor coverings to minimise noise between different levels in apartment and office blocks.
According to Mehran Zarrebini, the head of PFE International: “With our innovative methods and bespoke machinery, we are able to recycle 99 percent of the component materials in waste tyres. We are committed to creating a low environmental impact in our processing while ensuring that our clients are offered high quality and consistent products with enhanced value.”
Resdisa claims that, in just under three years of operation, it has to date put 80 percent of its revenue into supporting the circular economy, through investment back into industry and through creating a market for the handling of waste tyres.