EU Now Recovers More Tyres than US
In a complete reversal of the situation a decade ago, the tyre recovery rate is now higher in many parts of the EU than in the USA, according to the Bureau of International Recycling’s (BIR) Tyres committee.
Bureau chairman, Barend Ten Bruggencate of The Netherlands told committee members meeting Beijing that landfills had consumed 62 per cent of the EU’s scrap tyres as recently as 1994 and yet this figure had plummeted to 20 per cent by 2004 when some 3.213 million tonnes of used tyres were recovered across the 25 member states.
Mr Ten Bruggencate noted that energy recovery applications absorbed 31 per cent of used tyres in 2004 compared to 11 per cent in 1994. As for material recycling, Mr Ten Bruggencate underlined in particular the massive potential for using crumb and powdered rubber in playground and sports surfaces. He confirmed that talks were to take place to assess whether such products could play a part in the 2012 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The Tyres Committee Chairman went on to describe as “unbelievable” a recent Dutch newspaper article which suggested rubber granulate was carcinogenic. Following laboratory tests, the Dutch environment ministry had gone on record as saying that granulate was not a cause of cancer, he pointed out.
According to guest speaker Jiang Zhiyun, President of the China Tyre Retreading, Repairing & Recycling Association, approximately 120 million scrap tyres were generated in China last year, of which some 9 million were retreaded. Meanwhile, production of reclaimed rubber from tyres amounted to around 1.2 million tonnes. He commented: “Great attention has been paid to the development of the tyre recycling industry due to the short supply of rubber in China.”