The fourth session of the virtual Tyre Industry Conference centred on tyre recycling and the circular economy in the year of coronavirus. Joined by the Tyre Recovery Association’s secretary general Peter Taylor OBE and Mark Murfitt, the managing director of the UK’s largest tyre recycler, Murfitts Industries, our discussion focused on issues affecting collection and processing of end of life tyres in the UK, the impact of the pandemic, the damage caused by non-compliance, and future developments in tyre recycling. The UK’s tyre recycling sector witnessed a number of investments in 2020 from companies such as the newly formed Norwegian outfit Wastefront’s intention to build a pyrolysis facility in Sunderland and the UK’s Powerhouse Energy Group’s Cheshire DMG syngas plant. So noticeable was this trend that Tyrepress published its first ever Digital Feature based largely on the trend – a magazine-style online feature collecting the latest news from the segment in one place. The interest in this unglamorous but vital segment would perhaps represent a surprise to some, but several developments led to this flurry of activity.
Norwegian waste tyre recycling company, Wastefront AS has entered into an exclusive long-term project delivery partnership with Devaltec LLC. The partnership will commence with Wastefront’s first waste tyre recycling plant in Sunderland, due for completion in 2023. Wastefront had previously secured a 10-year offtake agreement with Devaltec’s liquid offtaker, Vitol for the production of liquid hydrocarbons and certain non-liquid products due to be produced at the Sunderland plant and future plant sites. Devaltec will now be the primary strategic partner to Wastefront, co-leading the development of all upcoming projects for the next five years. It is contracted to deliver production from multiple plants of minimum 1000 MTD.
Recycled plastics will become a raw material within new tyres in future. This is a key intended application of a technology that the Michelin Group is exploring under a new joint development agreement with Canadian firm Pyrowave. Michelin ultimately intends to invest more than 20 million euros in the joint development agreement and combine its industrial know-how with Pyrowave’s expertise.
The site of the Bradford tyre fire which broke out in the early hours of 16 November causing disruption to the local area was investigated earlier in 2020 by the Environment Agency. Local newspaper the Telegraph & Argos reported on 14 July that a local resident had reported the former Ontrak karting circuit to the EA’s Incident Hotline, and that the agency had subsequently started a probe. Go-kart circuits are permitted to use up to 40 tonnes of waste tyres as crash barriers if they obtain the relevant exemption permit. However, pictures taken by the Telegraph & Argos in July also show high stacks of baled tyres that do not resemble karting safety walls. Tyres & Accessories searched the EA’s Public Registers of Waste Exemptions and Environmental Permits but found no evidence of permits or either the S2 or T8 permits required to legally store waste tyres registered to the former circuit’s address. Meanwhile, the site’s owner, Jak Yakoob of used car dealer The Car Empire, which backs onto the tyre fire site, told the Telegraph & Argos in July that the site’s new tenant had agreed to clear the waste tyres from the site. The EA’s spokesman said its officers were investigating the Spring Mill Street site’s operators and were “seeking to determine if an offence has been committed so that appropriate enforcement action may be taken.”
Engineering group Andritz has opened a new 3,600m2 test and research centre for the recycling industry in St. Michael, Upper Styria, Austria. The group, which supplies plant machinery for recovering energy and materials from tyres and auto parts among other waste streams, is to expand its research and development activities with the new facility. It will collaborate closely with the University of Leoben at the Andritz Recycling Technology Center (ART-Center), though the ART-Center is available to customers and researchers from around the world. The facility is equipped with innovative shredder technology from the company’s ADuro product line, used for primary and secondary shredding as well as fine granulation and dismantling of composite materials. This enables customers to conduct recycling tests under real plant conditions with industrial-scale equipment.
Scandinavian Enviro Systems (publ) and Michelin expect the final agreement regarding their strategic partnership will be reached during the fourth quarter 2020 rather than at the end of October, which Enviro previously communicated. The coronavirus pandemic is cited as the reason for the delay in negotiations.
Green Distillation Technologies (GDT) is expanding the capacity of its Warren, Western New South Wales, Australia plant with the installation of an additional processing module. According to the company, this will double the existing production output capacity. It is proposed to install the balance of additional modules next year to reach the annual processing capacity of 19,300 tonnes of tyres that a fully developed facility with six operating modules would handle.
The “worst fears” of the Tyre Recovery Association have been confirmed by Environment Agency data confirming a rise in levels of non-compliance by many end-of-life tyre (ELT) claiming ‘T8 exemptions’ for their businesses. EA inspections conducted in the first eight months of 2020 showed almost 50 per cent of sites visited failed to meet legal requirements. This is considerably worse than comparative data from 2019. Inspections of almost sixty sites carried out by the EA across England last year revealed over one-third to be legally non-compliant. prices typically charged by recyclers to accept end of life tyres from collectors have almost doubled since the start of the year.
After almost 20 years with Conica, the company’s operations director, John Bramwell, is retiring at the end of October. Commenting on his retirement, company representatives said Bramwell “has been a fundamental part of everything the company has achieved and will leave Conica with one of the best truck tyre recycling plants anywhere in the world.” In addition to his leadership role at Conica, Bramwell also represented the industry in a number of roles, including as a director of the Tyre Recovery Association (TRA).
This autumn could bring with it a new rash of tyre dumping and site abandonment warns Britain’s Tyre Recovery Association (TRA). The association has warned that there are several factors of which the public, our regulators and the tyre trade should be aware. The TRA’s latest comments follow a previous warning that market conditions were likely to have such consequences earlier in the year.
On 3 July 2020 the UK government issued advice on the port-side storage of tyre shred via a time-limited Environment Agency Regulatory Position Statement (RPS 238). RPS 238 was updated on 15 September 2020 and lasts until 30 June 2021.