PH investors see profits turning wastes into fuel

February 01, 2012

February 1, 2012

USED tires and plastic wastes are big problems in the Philippines. No
one has found a way of disposing of them without polluting the

In Shanghai in China, Shangqui Jinyuan Machinery Equipment has come up
with a technology that converts the wastes into big business.

The end products are fuel oil (bunker), crude carbon black (steel
wires) and combustible gas.

A Filipino entrepreneur who requested anonymity told Malaya Business
Insight in a chance interview that he has collected a group that will
compete in the business with Chinese waste processors.

He estimated that a modest size machine with a daily capacity of 20
tons of used tires and plastics may cost about a million dollars. He
pointed out capital and other expenses can be recovered in less than
two years.

He said he was told by a Chinese businessman that as much as 40 to 45
percent can be recovered from used tires in the form of fuel oil.

Carbon black has a recovery rate of 12 to 15 per cent. He said he also
learned that 5 percent of waste combustible gas can be used as fuel
for the process, thus minimizing costs. The final product, he said, is
used in China to generate electricity.

The company claims in its promotion pamphlet that it is "the first
domestic professional institute in the recycling and utilization of
waste resources (waste plastics, waste rubber, tires and waste engine

The brochure states that the machines which have five patents – one
for every product – are exported to the United States, Thailand,
Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, West Africa, and
even Taiwan.

The company claims that at present there is an estimated 100 million
tons of waste plastic products produced every year all over the world.

In China alone, the volume of wastes increases by 13 percent a year
such that today, there are at least 1,000 tons that can be converted
into useful products.

Every year, China’s various types of vehicles retire at least 130
million tires of different sizes, making the country the third-largest
source or producer of used tires which are problems in other
countries, including the Philippines.

In the Philippines, used plastic bags are either thrown into the
garbage heap or scattered in the streets. They are a major cause of
clogging of small waterways or rivers on whose banks poor people build

As shown during Typhoon Ondoy and in the recent storm in Iligan City
and Cagayan de Oro City, the plastic wastes had been discovered to be
a major cause of rivers overflowing and killing people after big

On the other hand, used tires in the Philippines are left to rot
everywhere but scientists say it takes a hundred years for these
wastes to decompose.

Plastics are produced from fossils. They are non-biodegradable. They
do not decompose at all.

A businessman who saw the processing of wastes in China said the
Philippines may not allow the conversion of such wastes into useful
products because of concerns about pollution.

He explained that if the Department of Energy and Natural Resources
denied an environmental clearance certificate to the Tampakan mining
operation in South Cotabato after the company spent hundreds of
millions of pesos in community development, he does not see any reason
why processing used tires and plastic wastes to make bunker fuel,
bricks, steel wires, and combustion gas could be given a clearance.

He said open pit is the only method used to extract copper and other
ores all over the world. There is no law that bans the process.