Social Innovation: Hertz Car Rental Starts To Recycle Old Tyres
Hertz is collaborating with Liberty Tire Recycling, the largest tyre recycler in North America, to create a social innovation partnership for the first nationwide tyre-recycling program by the U.S. car rental industry. 90 percent of the U.S.’s tyres are now being recycled and made into social innovation products such as playground mulch, landfill bedding. Now Hertz has signed an agreement with Liberty to recover the material from the worn-out tyres that leave its fleet annually: an estimated 170,000 of them.
Rich Broome, spokesperson at Hertz, says, “We’re the first rental company to commit to zero waste for tyres. We recently went through our operations to see where we could do better environmentally. We are recovering oil and we don’t waste water, either. But our tyre recycling was at best haphazard. We didn’t know what the local operators were doing with them. But now because of our agreement with Liberty Tires Recycling, no Hertz tyre will ever be found in landfill again.”
Liberty says it processes 40 million passenger tyres every year, amounting to 1.4 million tons of material. Hertz has 3,000 locations full of cars, including both airport and off airport, which means that there are a lot of tyres to recycle.
According to the U.S.’s Environmental Protection Agency, America generates 290 million scrap tyres annually; 233 million of them make it to a market where some 130 million are used as fuel and 53 million go into civil engineering projects. For example, instead of being thrown away, ground-up tyres can be used to replace sand and gravel as landfill linings and also be used for road foundations. Old recycled tyres are particularly useful in playgrounds; apart from being durable, they are soft for hard falls. Used tyres can actually be turned into Tyre Derived Fuel (TDF) and be burned as social innovation fuel at paper mills and cement kilns. It’s a good substitute for coal as it burns cleaner.
This recycling social innovation program is the latest in a string of corporate sustainability commitments by Hertz. In July, the company announced an extensive commitment to on-site solar energy with a pledge to install the PV arrays on as many U.S. locations as possible. It already has 900 solar panels at its global headquarters in New Jersey. By the end of 2012, its total capacity should be 3 megawatts (MW). Hertz is also making a significant commitment to Electric Vehicles (EV) and already includes the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and Mitsubishi iMiev in its rental fleet. The company is testing wireless EV charging through a pilot program with Plugless Power.
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