22 May 2018
Oued Zem, Morocco
Resource efficiency and sustainable waste management

Tyres are now an integral part of our daily lives. And while the wheels keep turning for them, there is little thought put into what their environmental impact could be. But what happens when they are no longer usable? A woman has focused on the problem and worked out how to turn them into something of use through deciphering the launch of a bold eco-business.

A dense black smoke rises in the sky, expands heavily and emits the most unpleasant rubbery smell.  It was this apocalyptic vision that triggered Naoual Elomari to do something about it.

Before her, the tyres were burning and discharging toxic substances into the air. Why to dispose of tyres at the end of their life by incinerating them, when we know how much damage they cause: soil contamination, air pollution, damage to landscapes, and the list goes on…? Why not learn to reuse and reintegrate them into everyday life?

This was the thought that inspired Elomari to launch her green project. Very active in a local association involved in collecting, sorting and treating waste plastic, she decided to move from voluntary work to entrepreneurship. Her project is called “PUNR – Recycling of unused used tyres” and focuses on the environmental problems related to tyres and their solutions. Elomari is trying to raise awareness about recycling tyres and breathing new life into used ones. The project is offically registered at the “Office de développement et de coopération” as a cooperative under the name of COVAD Pneu (Coopérative de valorisation durable des pneus).

More than 256,000 tons of tyres are discarded into nature or burned every year in Morocco, so there is an urgent need to deal with how we treat these everyday objects at the end of their useful life. Elomari understood this well: used tyres can be reused if they are properly recycled and processed. It is about seeing these objects as a resource, and not as a burden that we don’t know how to get rid of

By analyzing the markets as well as the needs of other industries, she observed that there was a need by the public and civil engineering sectors. The tyre, via a transformation process, can be recycled into rubber shreds, granulate or powder, which are all reusable. These recycled materials are then used in the manufacture of playing areas, athletics track, shock-absorbing ground surfaces, sports fields, roads, sound-absorbing walls, and synthetic turfs.

The environmental impact is strongly reduced. The reused tyres are thus not abandoned in nature or burned. Each of these two cases has its consequences: the tyre is not biodegradable and it contains many chemical compounds. Left in nature, it contaminates the soil and pollutes the landscape. Burned, it releases toxic substances that pollute the atmosphere.

But Elomari’s initiative is not only ecological. She has also paid attention to the economic and social impact of her project. “Environmental responsibility is an issue, but so is my social responsibility. […] the transition to a circular and greener economy allows us to recycle, and therefore monetize the waste, create jobs and, what’s more, they’re local jobs.”

Elomari benefited from the support of the SwitchMed programme to launch her activity. “Fortunately, my entrepreneurial journey became clearer through SwitchMed’s training and guidance, which allowed me to acquire the knowledge and tools necessary to transform the environmental, social and economic challenges into the creation of a business. This training has allowed me to develop an eco-business model and perform all the necessary tests to validate our business plan. “

The SwitchMed training allows entrepreneurs to build their green business plan step-by-step. Elomari especially appreciated the mobilization of experts in different areas to assure the credibility of the project and the contacts to whom she was introduced. The experience has therefore been positive for this new eco-entrepreneur, who continues her battle to recycle tyres.

So far, the experience of this eco-entrepreneur has been very positive and she is continuing her tire recycling adventure.

 

 

This article with originally published on the SwitchMed website.

PUNR - Recycling of unused used tyres Resource Efficiency & Sustainable Waste Management
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