Crisis management

There are almost 4 million registered cars in Kazakhstan - on average, every fifth person has a car. However, there is no data on how often car owners change car tires and what they do with the old ones. It is forbidden by the law to burn used tires or dump them on the landfills, whereas storing them, especially in huge quantities, is dangerous, so the issue of recycling old tires in Kazakhstan is quite pressing. Lack of facilities, absence of centralized recycling system results in the situation that every year the country produces 100,000 tons of environmentally hazardous waste, and only 30% of it is recycled.

Only a small part of used tires is disposed at special landfills equipped for storage. But even organized landfills are a source of environmental pollution and increase the likelihood of uncontrolled fires. The best solution is to recycle old tires and create secondary raw materials.

Industry's baby steps

It is relatively recently that Kazakhstan has begun to deal comprehensively with the collection and recycling of used tires. There are two branch regulators in the market at the moment, main tasks of which are stabilization of raw material supply, economical support of recyclers, certification and bringing enterprises' activity in conformity with requirements of ecological legislation. As a result factories and companies have been actively developing, and today there are 20 tire recycling companies in the country.

The largest tire recycling and utilization plant in Kazakhstan was opened in Nur-Sultan in 2009. Initial investments, according to official data, amounted to $6.7 million. In 2012-2014, the work of the enterprise was suspended. Attempts to save the plant from bankruptcy, unfortunately, failed, and its activity was completely terminated.

The second life of the plant

In December 2020, KUB management, a company specializing in strategic business project management, considered several facilities in crisis, among which was the capital's tire recycling plant. This was not the first time the company works with such objects as anti-crisis management along with start-ups and scaling of the existing business are the main directions of its activity.

The plant attracted the attention of KUB experts for several reasons. First, it has no analogues in Kazakhstan in terms of size and capacity. Secondly, the recycling industry is actively supported by the government under green economy and technology development programs, and is of great importance for society and environmental protection. Thirdly, recycling products, in particular rubber crumb, are in great demand in the market.

Crisis management in action

Having analyzed and studied the project, the board of directors of KUB management decided to take the plant under its wing. The anti-crisis plan of action included a quick "reanimation" and launch of the lines, at the same time a business plan and a long-term strategy were developed.

Crisis management differs from risk management in that it takes companies out of a crisis that has already happened with the help of various management tools. While risk management involves assessing potential threats and finding the best ways to avoid them, crisis management deals with real threats before, during and after they have occurred. The depth of the crisis is assessed by such criteria as unpredictability, short decision-making time, and the need for change.
As part of the anti-crisis program, KUB management's project team restarted the plant in the shortest time possible, January-July 2021.

"During this time, we recruited a new team of specialists, including top management and leading engineers, made repairs and equipment adjustments. We have restored production capacity and started up the lines. In April acceptance of tires started actively. And by summer the ECORUBBER plant was fully launched. At the present moment the plant's team consists of 37 people. Now comes the stage of business activation: capacity building, work with big customers, purchase of additional equipment, expansion of product line", - shared Sandro Yagmurov, plant's executive director.

Today ECORUBBER Recycling is the largest plant in Kazakhstan for recycling and utilization of tires. Production capacity of the plant is over 10,000 tons per year (this is one third of all recycled tires in Kazakhstan). At full load, the production volume exceeds 600 tons of products per month. The enterprise is equipped with advanced German equipment, which guarantees quality and safe recycling at all stages of recycling in automatic mode with minimum risks for workers. European technology allows the production of environmentally friendly and high quality rubber crumb and metal shavings.

"We produce high-quality pure crumb of three fractions: 0-0.1 mm, 0.1-0.2 mm, 0.2-0.4 mm. It is produced by chopping, which makes the edges of each particle absolutely even, creating a tighter bond and a stronger surface. All unnecessary and superfluous particles of metal, fabric are removed by particle filtration. The resulting product does not lose its unique properties. It can be used in the landscaping of sports grounds, road construction, in the oil and shoe industry," - Sandro Yagmurov said.

Plans and prospects

Waste recycling and secondary production in Kazakhstan is still in its infancy. Although the number of companies in this sphere is gradually increasing, and the relevant laws and regulations are being adopted, there is an acute shortage of professional staff at all levels of management. It is necessary to solve this issue comprehensively, by forces of the state, employers and the educational sphere.

A separate issue is the experience of other states in solving the problem. For example, in Europe and the USA, rubber component is added to the road pavement, which increases its wear resistance by several times. High quality recycled rubber is used to make new car tires. Implementing this practice for Kazakhstan would be an incredible development for the industry.

Production of recycling tires solves the whole pool of problems: environmental, raw material, social ones. For the moment ECORUBBER Recycling has grand strategic plans: to strengthen the leadership and increase the market share in Kazakhstan, scale up sales and expand the product range, enter the international markets.