European Used Tyre Recovery Rate Reaches 96%
ETRMA, the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association, claims that the market for tyre derived products has become one that is “sustainable and economically viable.” Despite that fact that the recession is having a negative impact on the supply of end-of-life tyres to sorting and recycling companies, the ETRMA confirms that a positive trend in the management of end of life tyres is occurring, and the European recovery rate has now reached 96 per cent. “This achievement also promotes Europe as one of the most advanced regions in the world in the recycling and recovery of tyres,” claims the ETRMA in a press statement.
The principal advance, explains the ETRMA, has been the growth in the number of environmentally-friendly and cost-effective options for recycling tyres; End of life tyres derived products are now increasingly regarded as a useful resource for various recycling options. The ETRMA adds that, in 2010, 14 different tyre manufacturer established end of life tyre management companies operated throughout Europe. These firms were mandated to collect and organise the treatment of a quantity of end of life tyres equivalent to the volume of new tyres collectively sold by these companies, according to the principle of ‘one new tyre sold one worn tyre recovered’.
The UK reportedly treats 100 per cent of its end of life tyres. Of the total 479,000 tonnes of end of life tyres arising in the UK during 2009, 8.5 per cent was retreaded, while 45.1 per cent was processed into other materials. Another 24.0 per cent of UK end of life tyres was utilised as a source of energy. The remainder were reused (19.0 per cent) or exported. This last use of end of life tyres is, however, a contentious issue. Germany, for example, exported 69,000 tonnes of end of life tyres during 2009 – 12.1 per cent of its annual total arisings and 20,000 tonnes more than it retreaded. Many believe the exporting of end of life tyres simply shifts the responsibility for processing a waste product onto someone else.
Yet as the ETRMA explains, the ambition of European tyre manufacturers is to “further reinforce the healthy and economically viable tyre recycling market.” To this end, the ETRMA is supporting the development of product standards for end-of-life derived products. A brand new technical specification has just been adopted at CEN2 level; these product standards help to improve the reliability of the supply chain, which is very important for the recycling and recovery operators. The said vision of ETRMA members is that the continued evolution of ELT collection and treatment will drive down the cost of recycling, and contribute to a more sustainable environment.