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Liberty Tire's road to maximum efficiency

Aerial view of tires waiting to be recycled at Liberty Tire
Even with a fully electrified plant recycling 5.5M tires a year, Liberty Tire is always trying to lower consumption and boost efficiency.

Breathing new life into old tires

Ever wondered what happens to your old tires? If you live in B.C., the chances are they'll end up with Liberty Tire, the province's leading tire recycler.

Recycled tire rubber is measured in PTEs (passenger tire equivalent). One PTE is the same amount of rubber as an average car tire. And in 2022, Liberty Tire recycled 5.5 million PTEs – roughly one tire for every person in B.C.

With over 50 facilities across the U.S. and into Canada, including two in Delta and a third on Vancouver Island, Liberty Tire produces a wide range of products including high-quality crumb rubber, rubberized asphalt and surfaces for running tracks and children's playgrounds. Each year, the company recycles more than 3 billion pounds of rubber across North America.

Passionate about the environment

As you might expect from a recycling company, Liberty Tire is very passionate about the environment. Their entire business is built around a green circular economy approach that:

  • Reclaims tires from overloading landfills, polluting waterways and depleting air quality.
  • Recycles all parts of a tire into the economy.
  • Reuses scrap tires and resells high-quality ones into the used marketplace.
  • Repurposes downgraded tires into safe, eco-friendly products.

Since 2011, they've remediated 150 dump sites, and kept 4.3 billion pounds of rubber out of landfills. They also have a highly innovative approach to energy efficiency, as Neil Bansal, Liberty Tire's regional vice president explains. "Electrification is not a new thing for us. Between our three facilities, we have close to 5,000 amp services. We've been powered by BC Hydro since day one."

Brainstorming with BC Hydro

"After around 25 years at our main Delta location, it came time to evaluate our existing equipment as some of it needed replacing," says Neil. "Plus, we also wanted to explore how new technology could help us reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible."

They began with maintenance manager Bill Crawford joining our strategic energy management cohort program, but when Bill unexpectedly passed away, 15-year Liberty Tire veteran Jerry Sipsas stepped in as energy manager and completed the program.

"The cohort team is a great group of people," says Jerry. "They've helped us to reduce maintenance costs and kilowatt hours per ton while increasing productivity at the same time." Jerry is also super appreciative of the support Liberty Tire gets from BC Hydro Regional Energy Manager, Daman Kochhar: "Daman is amazing. We brainstorm ideas with her and she lets us know about any new incentives or programs that might work for us. She also helped us find fantastic contractors to do the work through the BC Hydro Alliance of Energy Professionals.

How Liberty Tire is making a difference

We asked Jerry to walk us through all the changes Liberty Tire is making to increase their energy efficiency.

Fixing compressed air leaks

"We started with some of the simpler things that don't require any capital, like walking around and fixing any air hoses that are leaking. We also have tags near the lunch rooms so if an operator sees something, they can tag it and let us know. Just fixing those leaks will reduce our energy consumption by 2% this year."

Reducing their power factor

"Power factor correction is easily done for a fairly low cost. We installed capacitor banks to help keep our power factor at optimal levels to avoid a surcharge and started using the MyHydro portal to monitor our usage. Before we did this, we had no idea if we were going to get a power factor surcharge. Now we can track it live and if we have an issue, we can address it right away."

Upgrading LED lights

"We did quite a few LED conversions when the T5 technology was new. But now there are LEDs that are maybe twice as efficient, so we're upgrading where it makes sense. LED lighting has reduced our lighting energy costs to a quarter of what they were 10 years ago."

Reducing current usage for future upgrades

"Upgrading electrical connections can take a long time with all kinds of permits and bureaucracy. By reducing the amount of power we use at our facility, we've always got the option of fast future expansion because we won't need to spend time waiting on permits and making capital investments – it's already done!"

And that's not all – Jerry and Neil are working on future projects that could reduce their energy consumption by a further 12%. "The benefits of appointing a full-time energy manager are significant," says Neil. "Not only have we found lots of ways to save energy, but with more efficient facilities, we'll be able produce an even higher-quality product and also improve employee retention."

Does your organization need an energy manager?

To find out more about our energy manager or strategic energy management cohort programs, contact your Key Account Manager or Regional Energy Manager, or call 604 522 4713 in the Lower Mainland or 1 866 522 4713 elsewhere in B.C.