The Lafarge cement works and used tires

Posted on 20 October 2016.

With its new system of introducing whole tires into its kiln in Martres-Tolosane, in the Haute-Garonne region of France, the cement producer Lafarge is improving local management and recovery of this waste.

8000 tonnes of old tires will be processed in Martres-Tolosane annually.

Banned from landfill in France since 2002, tire waste is a serious environmental nuisance, particularly because of the toxic smoke emissions produced when it is burnt.

And as the rubber used to make tires has a high calorific value, disposing of them is a serious waste of both raw materials and energy.

Consequently for a long time cement producers have used them in the cement making process. With its new plant in Martres-Tolosane (Haute-Garonne), the global giant Lafarge has gone a step further by recycling whole old tires.

4000 tires recycled daily

Opened in the summer, the plant uses a new cement heating process: for the first time entire tires can be introduced directly into the cement plant’s kiln.

As it is no longer necessary to shred them first in specialized units and then send them to the cement plants, CO2 emissions caused by transporting them are reduced.

The plant recovers the waste locally from companies that want to recycle them. 4,000 old tires are processed every day. 8000 tonnes of tires will be processed annually – which is 15% of the thermal output of the kiln.

Less petroleum coke to heat the cement

Once collected at the Martres-Tolosane cement works, the old whole tires are introduced into a kiln which can reach a temperature as high as 1200°C. This very high temperature and the burn time guarantee they will completely disintegrate – both safely for the environment and without the production of any final waste.

And by in part replacing the petroleum coke that is traditionally used in the cement heating process, these tires contribute to a 40% reduction in the use of this fossil resource.