ETRMA: 96% of European used tyres treated in 2010
European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) has published data showing that the recovery rate of used tyres (UT) in Europe grew to 96 per cent in 2010. According to the association, this high recovery level is at the top of all waste streams.
In the last decade, tyre industry, dealers and ELT operators have substantially improved ELT utilization. Europe has built up a real experience of three types of ELT management schemes: The tax model, although very limited; free market model and producer responsibility model. ETRMA’s view is that the rapid improvement of the performance of ELT management has been reached “through a sustained deployment of the producer responsibility model in the past decade.” However those operating under the free market model in the UK, which according to the ETRMA’s own figures produces outcomes, which at 98 per cent are 2 percentage points better than the European average, may disagree with this analysis.
Nevertheless ETRMA reports that last year across Europe about 3.3 million tonnes of used tyres were managed in “an environmentally sound manner.” This represents a 2 per cent increase in arisings compared to 2009. After sorting out the data of those tyres going for reuse or retreading, an estimated 2.7 million tonnes of end-of-life tyres (ELTs) were left to be treated. This material flow went into a variety of recycling applications, public works and civil engineering or was used as a fuel substitute in cement kilns, boilers and power plants.
One interesting observation in 2010 is that there appears to have been some growth in the use of material recovery (+10%) and a reduction in energy recovery (-3%). In numbers, this means that 1.3 million tonnes of ELTs went to material recovery, and 1.2 million tonnes in energy recovery. The use of tyre rubber granulate and powder is the main material recovery route (80%), followed by civil engineering applications and public works (18%), dock fenders, blasting mats (<2%) and steel mills and foundries (<1%). As regards energy recovery, the main user of ELT shreds or whole tyres remains the cement industry (92% in volume).
Producer responsibility is the dominant model
Fourteen ELT management organizations are operating throughout Europe under the producer responsibility principle. These organizations have been set up by the tyre manufacturers, tyre production businesses ETRMA also respresents. They are mandated to collect and organize the treatment of an equivalent weight (according to the principle ‘one new tyre sold for one worn tyre recovered’) of the replacement tyres sold collectively by these organizations’ members.
The process is financed through an environmental fee applied to the product price, regardless of the location of the collection point. Thanks to the success of the scheme, this fee is decreasing overtime. The chain is coordinated by the ELT companies, from collection to recovery or recycling, with the support of a reliable and transparent traceability or auditing system.
New international opportunities
According to ETRMA, the publication of the ELT Decree in Italy constitutes a new opportunity for 2011. ECOPNEUS, an ELT management organization, will start operating from 7 September. In terms of UT arisings, the Italian market is the third largest country after Germany and the UK.
The latest data release also saw ETRMA begin reporting on UT recovery in Turkey, a country which has operated a producer responsibility scheme since 29 December 2009. LASDER, an ELT management organization, was set up to fulfil the obligations resulting from law. LASDER recovered 63,000 tonnes of ELTs, 100 per cent of its legal obligations in 2010.