After more than a decade of uphill battles and disappointments, livestock farmer and entrepreneur Owen Douglas perseveres to establish the first tire recycling facility for the country of New Zealand.
February 12, 2011 was a very special day for Owen Douglas. Among the boisterous and hearty cheers of his friends and crew, this was the day that Owen finally placed that very first tire onto the conveyor of his new CM Dual Speed Tire Shredder. It was an emotional and celebratory day as he realized that he had now concluded a twelve year quest to bring tire recycling to NZ and to finally christen his company Tyre Disposal, Ltd as it launched into full swing production watching those first tires climb the conveyor.
The islands of New Zealand discard between four and five million tires a year. Until now those tires have been discarded all over the countryside, tossed away onto farms, or dumped along roadways, riverbanks and other rural properties creating serious fire hazards and mosquito infestations. Over the years, many of these tires found their way onto Douglas' farm and after decades of losing the battle with illegal dumping, Owen decided to make it his mission to find a way to responsibly eliminate the tire piles littering his land and his country.
For the past decade, Owen Douglas tirelessly conducted vast amounts of research, attended educational seminars and traveled the globe to learn everything he could about end-of-life tire processing. In the end, he concluded that the best way to rid his country of all the tire piles and all future tire disposal was to shred the tires for TDF.
Mr. Douglas set up his new venture as Tyre Disposal Ltd. and made his first pitch to introduce the idea locally to the NZ Dairy Co. to process the tires at its coal fired facility. Sadly, the project never got off the ground due to corporate restructuring. Brushing off this first hurdle he spent the next six years meeting with many power plants, cement companies and paper mills in NZ but was sidelined by indifference among the principals to accept TDF as a fuel source and by environmental officers who decided that burning TDF 'was not a good idea.'
During this time Mr. Douglas was also having conversations with the team at CM including CM National Sales Manager, Rick Colyar. They chose to investigate other options for potential markets for Mr. Douglas and contacted Chris Aum, Sales Manager for e & Resources of Korea and CM Sales Manager for Asia. Chris was able to arrange for Owen to meet with the group at Asia Cement, located just outside of Seoul to discuss the opportunity. Early last year the meeting took place and in less than fifteen minutes Asia Cement eagerly agreed to take as much TDF as Tyre Disposal could produce and ship. With this agreement now in place, Owen placed the order with CM for a CM Dual Speed Tire Shredder a rugged two speed, stage one processing system built for reducing whole passenger car, SUV and tractor trailer tires into 2' (50mm) clean cut tire chips at a rate of 8-12 tons per hour.
After a lengthy trans-global ocean voyage, the shredder landed in the Port of Tauranga in late January and was delivered to an eager and joyous Owen Douglas. Shortly after arrival CM Field Technician, Ziggy Kotlarczyk traveled to Tauranga to oversee the assembly and start-up of the CM and to provide training in operations, maintenance, and safety procedures of the CM tire shredder for all Tyre Disposal employees.
Mr. Douglas has set up his facility at an old dairy company close to the railway at the Waharoa Industrial Park in Tauranga. He is supplying lockable containers to any site with a stockpile of old tires, and will charge per tire. Clients include; quarry and mining operations, contractors, tire retailers and council transfer stations. The tipping fees are based on the size of the tire. Tyre Disposal is actively collecting tires and processing existing tire piles. His agreement with Asia Cement is to ship 1,000, 20' containers of 2' tire chips (20,000 m/tons) to Korea annually.
Owen now 71 has fought long and hard to win this battle for New Zealand. Thanks to Mr. Douglas we will see a dramatic and healthy change in the rural landscape of NZ along with stronger initiatives for environmental sustainability and a higher level of accountability from the NZ government and the NZ tire industry because of his of hard work and determination over these many years.
Whoever said that 'perseverance pays off' - must know Owen Douglas!