Dr Mehran Zarrebini, CEO of Mathe Group and Van Dyck

New R65 million plus tyre recycling facility planned

HAMMARSDALE-based radial truck tyre recycler, Mathe Group, has received a new Waste Management License for a new R65 million plus tyre recycling facility which will be positioned alongside its already highly successful existing operation.

CEO of Mathe Group and sister company, Van Dyck, Dr Mehran Zarrebini, says that negotiations with a potential funder are well under way. The precise value of the investment will depend on the technology sourced.

At the same time, an expansion to its existing facility is due to come on stream in August. This will increase Mathe Group’s current output from between 25 and 30 tons of rubber crumb to 45 tons and grow the number of tyres recycled from 700 radial truck tyres per day to approximately 1 000 per day.

An expansion in moulding capacity by Van Dyck, which produces rubber goods from recycled rubber crumb, is also due to begin this month.

Van Dyck, originally a carpeting manufacturer, pivoted away from soft flooring to rubber-based products during the Covid period and has become known as a flooring innovator within a short space of time.

“The move from soft flooring to recycled rubber flooring during the Covid period was a necessary transition. The flooring market in South Africa has suffered a significant decline in volume over the years as a result of challenging economic conditions in South Africa. Complimentary and/or substitute products have largely replaced soft flooring in many residential and commercial properties,” he explains.


Recycled rubber flooring

He says that recycled rubber flooring presents significant entrepreneurial opportunities.

“Recycling tyres is not only good for the environment but provides immense socio-economic value. For the end user, incorporating recycled rubber flooring into a gym installation, for instance, not only provides comfort to the end user but also enhances acoustic performance and eliminates noise pollution. Our products are manufactured in a sustainable manner and hence we have attained global green tag certification.”

Dr Zarrebini, who is also head of South Africa’s first independent industry body, TRIASA (The Tyre Recycling Industry Association of South Africa), says that, at present, the pile of waste tyres is growing in South Africa. Yet, the country continues to import virgin rubber for the manufacture of a variety of products.

He explains that, because tyres are largely composed of rubber, when they are discarded, the potentially valuable rubber often goes to waste.

“By recycling tyres, this rubber can be salvaged and reused. This process is known as crumbing or grinding and involves breaking down the used tyres into small granules of powder. These can then be used in various applications as a replacement for new or virgin rubber. These applications can range from the production of new tyres to road construction, playground surfaces and the manufacturing of rubber goods, amongst many others,” he says.

Dr Zarrebini explains that tyre recycling reduces the need for imported rubber by creating a greater and sustainable supply of reusable rubber from within South Africa’s own waste streams, lessening the need to import new rubber. Thus, recycling can contribute to a more circular economy where waste is minimised and resources are used more effectively. This will reduce the high cost of both purchasing and transporting new rubber from international suppliers.

Although off a low base, Van Dyck has registered a 200% increase in the manufacture of moulded products this year.

“We have seen huge growth in the production of moulded products which has required the purchase of additional moulding capacity to cater for existing market requirements and anticipated future growth. Our production facility is now operating 24/7 at full capacity despite the interruptions of load shedding. The new equipment that will arrive will enable our operations to double capacity of certain moulded products,” he adds.

According to Dr Zarrebini, most of the growth in moulded products has come from South Africa and the United Kingdom to which Van Dyck exports gym flooring, acoustic shock pads and acoustic cradles. “We have also completed projects in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya with our locally manufactured acoustic underlays which are utilised underneath carpeting in the hospitality sector,” he says.

One of the most recent products manufactured by Van Dyck is a magnetically receptive rubber underlay known as Ezy Install. Compatible with a wide range of floor coverings in commercial, hospitality, retail and residential settings, this is extremely durable and requires no adhesive to install which has both health and environmental advantages.

“This is unique and is the first magnetically receptive rubber underlay on the market. We are hoping that adhesive free flooring will be utilised extensively in the future as legislation in the construction industry and, in particular, regarding the disposal of flooring becomes more stringent globally.  This product can be installed over an existing floor and walked on immediately. It offers excellent impact sound reduction, provides a vapour barrier for moisture mitigation and is hygienic, naturally anti-microbial and anti-allergenic,” he says.