A RECYCLING firm hopes its newest international order will fuel more work .
Hartlepool-based Niramax has sent 2,700 tonnes of tyre granules to Latvia where they will be used as fuel.
Now managing director Frank Antropik is hoping it will be the first of many shipments to the Baltic state.
The tyre crumbs will be primarily used in cement kilns, and Mr Antropik said his company’s long-term involvement in tyre recycling had helped them dominate a large-scale market.
He added: “Niramax started out by finding solutions for the tyres market, so we are in a unique position to pioneer new ways of tackling the problem.
“Our shredding and granulating operation is fully equipped to handle up to 50,000 tonnes of used tyres every year, so it was an important next step that we would look to the exports market and will be making sure this is the first of many shipments to Latvia.”
The new market has led to an increase in shifts at the firm, which employs 120 people at Longhill Industrial Estate, in Thomlinson Road.
Mr Antropik added: “Whether our tyres come directly to us or we go out to collect them, we are determined to keep on top of the market and find innovative new ways to cope with the huge numbers involved.”
The product known as tyre crumb can also be used for carpet underlay, children’s playgrounds and sports surfaces.
Within days of the tyres being exported, Niramax also sent out its second shipment of wood waste, with more than 1600 tonnes heading for Sweden. Both contracts meant the company had to double the number of shifts it operated.
Niramax has pumped more than £6m into the latest technology to feed this growing market, including a £5m German-made Refuse Derived Fuel plant and a £1m tyre processing plant.
Mr Antropik added: “There simply aren’t enough places in this country who can use the tyre or wood waste, so we have to take a lead, dig deep into our pockets and create a global market ourselves.
“There is a very big picture starting to happen here. The recycling industry is turning these unwanted products back into valuable resources that can play a crucial part in protecting fragile supplies of fossil fuels.
“We’re proud and excited that such a huge initiative is being led from the North-East.”