A new machine is in place at the George Town landfill, designed to chew up the mountains of old tyres, and spit them out as an entirely new product for use in construction and development.
The tyre shredding operation is heralded as one of the country’s most ambitious recycling projects to date, and a sign of things to come.
The machine has a ravenous appetite for steel belted radials. Employees told Cayman 27 it’s capable of chewing up seven to eight tonnes of tyres in a single hour.
“Used tires are a major problem, we simply don’t have space to continually store and pile them,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin, who rolled up his sleeves to toss a few tyres onto the conveyor belt.
He said the machine offers a sustainable solution to Cayman’s tyre problem.
“The very waste we produce becomes the feedstock for new business opportunities and employment,” he told a small group of journalists and lookers-on in attendance.
The machine transforms the old tyres into TDA, or tyre-derrived aggregate.
Island Waste’s Managing Director Jason Brown told Cayman 27 contracts are in place with Davenport Development and the Ironwood Group to take the material.
“It was just a win-win situation,” he proclaimed. “We had to come up with a solution that was good for the island and a solution that could work for all of us.”
While estimates vary as to the amount of tyres in the pile here at the George Town landfill, the DEH estimates it’s at least 500,000. Some might say that estimate is a little conservative. It’s expected to take up to a year to chew them all up with the new machine.
When the work is done, the shredder will be disassembled and shipped off-island, the hope is the 8 to 10 jobs created to feed the machine will live on beyond this project.
“This is something completely new and we’re hoping that these can transform into long-term jobs in our day-to-day operations,” said Mr. Brown.
With elections looming, Mr. Brown told Cayman 27 it’s imperative the next government stay the course on the country’s waste management strategy.
“It’s important for the island, the island needs it. We don’t want to undo any good work that’s been done already,” said Mr. Brown.
We asked the value of the shredding contract. Government told Cayman 27 the contract is complex and they are working to get us an accurate contract value.
However, government said it is getting closer to inking a deal on a new waste management system for the country.
Premier McLaughlin said he expects to have a preferred bidder in place by the end of April.
That bidder will construct and operate the new waste-to-energy based facility for a 25-year period.