World’s Largest Tire Recycling Facility Opens in Houston, Texas

Tire recycling, Houston tire recycling, genan tire recycling, genan Houston, lars raahauge, environmental protection agency, tires and landfills, rubber, tire recycling plant, tire recycling plant texas, asphalt, recycled asphalt, tire pavement, tire fuel, The old adage is true that everything is bigger in Texas. And now, so is tire recycling. Genan, the world’s leading tire recycling company, recently unveiled its $140 million state-of-the-art plant in northeast Houston earlier this month with plans to recycle 10 million tires each year. The 40-acre plant, the largest of its kind in the world, will employ 60 workers and divert nearly one-third of all used tires in Texas from landfills.

Genan currently operates four plants throughout Europe that recycle about 7 million tires each year. The company extracts and produces rubber granulate, rubber powder and steel from scrap tires for re-sale as synthetic turf installations, playgrounds and recreational facilities, sports tracks and grounds, asphalt roads, building products, flooring, injection molded products, industrial applications, noise insulation, and many other purposes and applications.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. generates about 290 million scrap tires each year. Roughly 45 percent are used as fuel, 20 percent are used in civil engineering projects, and 30 percent are converted into ground rubber and recycled into products. Genan’s Houston facility will serve as the company’s U.S. headquarters as the company seeks to expand its operations to include four sales and distribution plants across the U.S. in the future to capture 10 percent of the American recycled tire market.

Lars Raahauge, Genan’s Director of Business Development, said:

“We are currently performing due diligence on a number of states across the country. Exact locations will depend on the long-term reliability of available tire supplies as well as a business setting, community support, and a legislative and regulatory approach that is compatible with Genan’s environmentally and climate friendly tire recycling concept.”

Construction on the Genan Houston building kicked off two years ago with the decision to place the factory in Houston due to the positive business climate, proximity and access to the second largest business port in the U.S., and the 39 percent energy reduction costs compared to its Denmark facilities.

The plant currently processes tires by removing the rubber, steel and textile materials that comprise the tire. The steel is sold to scrap companies, and the “near-virgin” rubber is used in asphalt products. Textile materials are burned and converted into energy. Genan’s products have been utilized at the last two NFL Super Bowls and are currently in use across the country at a number of professional and college football facilities including the University of Texas at Austin and the New Orleans Saints turfs.

Within 24 months, the plant will be expanded to produce a line of very fine cryogenic rubber powder and a technologically unique devulcanization line for the production of rubber, which will be able to substitute virgin rubber compounds.

Image credit: GST HBK, via Wikimedia Commons

Sherrell Dorsey

Sherrell Dorsey is a social impact storyteller, social entrepreneur and advocate for environmental, social and economic equity in underserved communities. Sherrell speaks and writes frequently on the topics of sustainability, technology, and digital inclusion.

4 responses

  1. As someone who years ago made runs into NE Houston to sell recyclable materials, I remember it as a very industrialized area. Do we know what kind of emissions are expected from the plant, and to what extent any nearby community groups are concerned about additional pollution in their area? And what better designs can mitigate the emissions?

  2. This article was clearly not well researched. The numbers quoted from the EPA are about a decade out of date. Not only is the specific number she quotes for the number of tires scrapped annually very far off from current numbers, the proportions she cites are also not reflective of current industry trends. The funny part is, she openly cites an EPA page whose information is clearly out of date! The real story was about Genan’s factory, and those stats clearly were there to serve as filler, but it’s also filler that happens to misconstrue Genan’s expected market share etc. Essentially, this is a prime example of bad reporting.

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