Home > News > Archive > 3rd April 2007

Tyre-man may be close to turning dream into reality

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Owen Douglas
LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL: Owen Douglas has sold his Bruce Berquist Drive property (above) and is selling his abandoned quarry at Bayley’s Road, but his new operation elsewhere could get a huge boost from Toll NZ’s participation. 093071AD

Te Awamutu’s tyre man Owen Douglas has wheeled out of town vowing never to return.

Mr Douglas has sold his Berquist Drive tyre collection site and is selling his quarry site on Bayley’s Road. He is headed to a new block of land either in Tokoroa or Tauranga with his tyre ‘recycling’ business - Tyre Disposal Limited.

He has had a number of run-ins with district and regional councils over the eight years he has attempted to operate a tyre disposal business in this region and says he’s “had a guts full of all the red tape”.

Waipa District Council says Mr Douglas’ operation complied with his resource consent for the Bruce Berquist Drive site, but there were issues over safe storage of tyres in accordance with fire safety standards. Complaints were received from residents.

Eventually, as a means of enforcing the fire control bylaw, Council obtained a court order.

Mr Douglas then gathered 20,000 tyres at an abandoned quarry he bought at Bayley’s Road (Otorohanga District) - but this was stopped by Environment Waikato due to what they said were breaches of his resource consent.

But Mr Douglas may well be onto something at last with his ‘tyre dreams’. He has knocked on a lot of doors in the past eight years, including scrap tyre processors, government agencies, industry leaders, trade associations, environmentalists etc. He has also made several overseas trips - where he saw how well tyre re-use works in North America and also resulted in a contract to sell all the tyre derived fuel (TDF) chips that he can produce to South Korea.

Tyre derived fuel sees chopped up tyre nuggets burned to produce energy. New Zealand scrap tyres will fuel a huge cement production plant in South Korea if Mr Douglas can pull it off. The cement production process utilises steel banded chipped tyres as well, with the oxidised steel assisting in the cement mixture.

Toll NZ is in talks with Mr Douglas about setting up a number of tyre drop off points around the country, from where scrap tyres will be sent by rail (and ship) to Mr Douglas’ North Island operation.

Mr Douglas says managing scrap tyres is a problem throughout the world and this region has missed the chance to be this country’s ‘tyre recycling capital’.

Mr Douglas says he is in the process of spending a million dollars on a tyre recycling machine from America and once the new operation is in full swing the processed tyres (TDF) will be transported by rail to Mt Maunganui for export to Asia.