old tyres

According to a report by the Tire Industry Project, one billion end-of-life tyres are generated globally every year. An estimated four billion are currently in landfills and stockpiles worldwide. Nigerian company, Freee Recycle, aims to better manage this waste. 

Inherent problems 

Ifedolapo Runsewe, Freee Recycle’s managing director, says she is concerned about the detrimental impact of abandoned tyres on the environment and public health. 

“As the tyres are non-biodegradable, they spend more time in our dumpsites,” says Runsewe. “If you take a five-minute or ten-minute walk, I guarantee you that you will spot at least ten tyres.” 

She notes that some of the tyres end up in drains. During the rainy season, this contributes to flooding, especially in major cities such as Lagos. Piles of tyres, stockpiled on waste ground, collect water over time, which becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and creates a surge in the spread of malaria. 

Sustained growth 

Freee Recycle started operations in 2018 with four employees. Since then, the workforce has expanded to include more than 150 on-site staff members. 

The company gives old tyres a second life, turning waste into bricks, floor tiles and even flip-flops. Its products are available in major Nigerian cities, including Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. 

From waste to wealth  

The company’s most popular product is its rubber paving stone, which costs about €55 for a set of 40. “We also have solutions for insulation and transportation flooring,” says Runsewe. 

The flip-flops use old tyres for the bottom layer. The top layer uses polyurethane foam, which will degrade over time, and is not harmful to the environment. 

old tyres

Done Bone paver made from recycled tyres. Credit: Freee Recycling

 

Recycling ethos 

The company has recycled over 400 000 tyres into new products, out of over 600 000 tyres it retrieved. Some recycled products are slightly more expensive than their traditional counterparts, due to the extended shelf life of the products. 

To minimise waste in the production process, Freee Recycle uses materials that are left over to create decorations in the facility. 

Community empowerment 

“Many people have been empowered at the factory. You can see how many people are working there – they are earning their source of livelihood there, it’s a great thing,” says Bolanle Emmanuel, the southwestern Oyo State coordinator at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council. 

“In the past, the majority of these tyres were wasted, and this is a source of wealth, from waste to wealth,” says Emmanuel. 

 

A Nigerian company recycles old tyres in a bid to better manage the effect on the environment and public health. 

 

For more information, contact Freee Recycle Nigeria: 

Email: info@freee-recycle.com 

Website: https://freee-recycle.com/ng 

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