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670,000 tyres shredded in 16-month recycling project

A 16-month project to rid the George Town landfill of a veritable mountain of discarded tyres comes to an end.

Wednesday morning, government officials gathered, feeding the ceremonial last tyre into a tyre shredder imported specifically for the purpose.

It feels like only yesterday when Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin rolled up his sleeves to feed the first of hundreds of thousands of old tyres onto a conveyor belt and into the shredder. On that late March morning in 2017 we could only take a guess at how many tyres were piled up – the conservative estimate was in the neighborhood of a half-million.

Sixteen months later, we have an actual figure.

Island Recycling and its partner have shredded an incredible 670,000 tyres, good for an approximate weight of 14.8 million pounds, and at a cost of $1.47 million.

Those involved with this mammoth recycling project took pause Wednesday morning to mark a job now done.

“This development is a very real and very tangible step forward towards a world-class solid waste management,” proclaimed Health Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour.

Before the ceremonial tossing of tyres, Mr. Seymour marked a recycling milestone 16 months and 670,000 tyres in the making.

“We have eliminated an unsightly potentially dangerous waste product, that for many years took up a considerable amount of space at the landfill,” said Mr. Seymour.

The view from above shows the vast area once occupied by a mountain of old tyres.

“Today is a pretty joyful day for us,” said Island Recycling Managing Director Jason Brown.

Now that the mission has been accomplished, he described the challenge of this mammoth undertaking.

“We have been able to tackle the monster, tackle all of these tires out here and get it down to a very manageable level and complete our project successfully,” said Mr. Brown.

“There’s a lot of things that this could be used for, one of their quick wins that we believe is that the derelict vehicles can be placed here,” said Mr. Seymour.

As negotiations press on towards a deal on the integrated solid waste management system, the minister indicated he is already pondering the next step for this former tyre shredding area.

“We have to be ready for ISWMS, and we need to start practicing from now, I think we have a good opportunity here to be prepared for ISWMS when it really comes aboard.

As the tyre-shredding machine devours its last meal of steel-belted radials before being disassembled and shipped off island, Mr. Brown described the satisfaction of a job well done.

“It was just a no quit attitude from the team and that is what got us there,” he said.

The satisfaction of a job well done…

Now that the stockpile of old tyres has been dealt with, the DEH will use its own smaller shredder to handle tyres arriving at the landfill.

The shredded tyre material, known as tyre derived aggregate, has been used as fill by one developer in what government described as a ‘luxury’ project.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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