How can we safely and productively dispose of one billion waste tires a year? Meet Green Rubber - a company that will help to solve one of the world's most pressing environmental challenges.
When Charles Goodyear invented vulcanisation in 1839, he gave birth to the modern rubber products industry.
Everything from car tyres and bumpers, shoe soles and doormats is made from vulcanised rubber (created by adding a number of chemicals, including sulphur, to virgin rubber). The process of vulcanisation creates rubber that is tougher, more durable and stronger.
The only problem with Mr Goodyear's wonderful invention is that vulcanised rubber is nearly impossible to recycle.
Until now that is.
The rubber industry has for decades faced a huge challenge: how to keep waste tyres from filling landfills, leaching into groundwater, poisoning marine life and providing a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease carrying insects. In the developing world hundreds of thousands of people catch dengue fever, West Nile Virus and malaria from insects that breed in tyre dumps.
Last year 1.3bn tyres were thrown away, with 60% of the total coming from Europe and the USA.
The problem is clearly acute and getting worse. One "solution" is to burn tyres as a replacement fuel for coal. However, governments in several parts of the world, including Nova Scotia in Canada, believe that burning tyres causes a whole new raft of environmental problems.
Green Rubber provides an environmentally friendly alternative to the vexing issue of what to do with waste tyres.
For the first time in the industry's history, thanks to Green Rubber's patented technologies, rubber can be devulcanised and made into new products. The added bonus for rubber manufacturers is that the Green Rubber process will also significantly reduce their costs at a time when virgin rubber prices are at a record high.
The Green Rubber process has been developed by a team of scientists in Malaysia over the last decade. The company is now ready to become a major force for good in the global rubber industry.