The invention of the automobile, followed by other motorized vehicles has
resulted in an abundance of wastes that can be difficult or hazardous to process. Used
oil, refrigerant, and scrap tyres are some examples of major wastes generated from
vehicles. Of these, waste vehicle tyres are a bulky and non-biodegradable disposal
problem. The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, and countries around the
world, are looking for an outlet for used vehicle tyres, as scrap tyres contain a large
amount of potentially valuable material. In addition, Hong Kong’s government is
concerned with the space issues created by waste tyres in landfills. Professor C.S.
Poon of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) has decided to work toward
finding a sustainable system for waste tyre disposal and recycling.
In some countries, methods of recycling tyres using innovative technologies
are already in practice. For example, the Japanese are able to use whole tyres in
concrete for building houses, and the United States has used waste tyres to build
rubber based sidewalks, as well as rubberized asphalt. In Hong Kong, some of the
waste tyre products have been used to build surfaces for playgrounds, and rubbersoil
for use in civil engineering projects. However, many more scrap tyres are being
generated annually than are being reused; therefore, Hong Kong needs more viable
options for waste tyre management. This project aimed to provide HKPU with steps
towards a sustainable reuse and recycling system for scrap tyres.
This HKPU sponsored project was to create a set of recommendations to
alleviate the scrap tyre problem. We developed these steps keeping in mind Hong
Kong’s regulations as well as the residents’ respect for the environment.
Our goal was realized via three objectives. Our first objective was to
determine the scale of the waste tyre problem in Hong Kong. We determined that