UK praised for tyre recycling success
This year’s TRA forum (held on 17 June) was the association’s 7th annual meeting and was chaired by TRA secretary general, Peter Taylor OBE. As well as hearing from the ETRMA, delegates also heard presentations from a wide range of organisations involved in tyre recycling including the UK’s Environment Agency, the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, HiQ and Bandvulc.
One of the key messages delivered to a record number of attendees, was how “a combination of successful partnerships, participation and proactive involvement from many organisations across the tyre and reprocessing industries has been critical to the success of the UK’s tyre recycling programme”. And how this enables the UK to successfully meet the EU’s Landfill Directive all through a completely market-based approach.
“We are delighted by the record attendance at this year’s TRA forum which reflects our industry’s commitment to the responsible recycling of used tyres in the UK,” comments Mike Wilson, president of the Tyre Recovery Association. “However, as delegates heard, we mustn’t rest on our laurels as we face a number of significant challenges over the coming years and we will only be able to overcome these if we continue to make a concerted and united effort.”
During the forum, delegates heard how the UK managed to reprocess some 479,000 tonnes of waste tyre materials in 2009. According to the presentation from the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA), only Germany, which has a vehicle parc approximately 30 per cent bigger than the UK, recycled more tyres in 2009, reprocessing some 571,000 tonnes.
During the presentations, several key themes emerged regarding how the industry must adapt over the coming years. Firstly, HiQ emphasised its view of why tyre retailers need to improve how they communicate and educate their customers about their recycling efforts. It also explained how its network of 150 outlets manage this through both push and pull tactics such as franchise standards and point of sale materials.
The ETRMA outlined the main trends within Europe regarding tyre recycling including the evolution of end of life tyre recovery routes. For example, 40 per cent of end of life tyres are now used for energy recovery. The association also outlined how a scarcity and high cost of raw materials will mean the industry has to face the challenge of turning even more waste tyres into a useful resource.
Environment Agency involved in 10 major waste tyre investigations
The Environment Agency reported on the success it has achieved in tackling major illegal waste tyre operations. Since its campaigning work with the tyre industry began just two years ago, it is now conducting 10 major illegal waste tyre investigations including four UK operations and six cases of illegal export, potentially saving UK tax payers thousands of pounds in recovery and reprocessing fees. The agency also emphasised how the industry has a vital role to play in providing intelligence which enables them to focus their resources effectively.
Delegates also heard how future changes in tyre technology could result in more materials being made available for recycling and how we may see a renaissance in tyre retreading.
“I would like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended and participated in this year’s forum,” commented Peter Taylor OBE, Secretary General, Tyre Recovery Association. “It was extremely encouraging to hear such passionate debate, ideas and discussion on a wide range of issues. We clearly have a high level of interest about tyre recycling in the UK and I am delighted that the TRA continues to play such an active and integral role in the sector.”