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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Successful first year for Sapphire

SAPPHIRE Energy Recovery Ltd, the Lafarge Cement and Michelin Tyre joint venture, say they have established themselves as the market leaders in environmentally friendly tyre disposal, just one year after they were launched.

The company has set up a UK-wide disposal network stretching from Scotland to the West Country and has plans for investment in new collection and processing hubs in the South-East and Midlands which will feed tyres to its prime user, Lafarge Cement, who use the tyres as fuel in their Cauldon, Dunbar and Westbury cement works.

Sapphire were handling a modest 400 tonnes (56,000 tyres) a week just after their launch last year, but their disposal volumes have now grown to over 1,200 tonnes (168,000 tyres) a week, equivalent to 65,500 tonnes or 9 million tyres a year. The company’s target for 2004 is 120,000 tonnes or 16.8 million tyres.

Lafarge Cement, who have invested over £11 million in securing permits to use tyres and in automated equipment to feed them into the cement kilns, expect to secure permits to use tyres at two more factories in the next few months.

‘We have made great progress in our first year and are increasingly showing that the much talked of tyre-disposal crisis in the middle of next year need not happen,’ said Sapphire’s managing director, Jamie Randall. ‘I am certain that, with the coming landfill ban and the introduction of the End of Life Vehicle Directive, we can do much more.’

The use of tyres in cement kilns is permitted by the Environment Agency and has been proven to deliver environmental benefits including dealing with what has traditionally been seen as a ‘problem’ waste, reducing emissions from cement factories and saving fossil fuels for future generations.

‘While landfill requires no investment, Lafarge and Sapphire have made a combined investment of over £12 million to offer this superior option now, ahead of the landfill ban on tyres,’ said Mr Randall. ‘It is clearly now possible for the tyre industry to meet the 2006 EU Landfill Directive early by using Sapphire as a total disposal route.’

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