On May 2, the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA) published report and statistics on end-of-life tire treatment in Europe. The report was based on data generated by the ETRMA in 2016 which covers 32 countries, namely 28 EU members, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Turkey.

ETRMA’s detailed statistics is available online. The report says that used tire arising in Europe, which amounts to 3.9 Mt, increased by 2% or 66,000 tons in 2016 compared to the previous year. At the same time, reuse of part-worn tires, including casings used for retreading on the domestic market, export & domestic second hand markets, plunged by almost 5%. The data says that after sorting some 3.29 Mt of scrap tires were available for processing in 2016, which means additional 100,000 tons compared to 2015.

Source: ETRMA

ETRMA concluded some important findings from 2016 scrap tire management practices:

  • ELT granulation continued being strong (+9.3% vs. 2015);
  • ELTs sent to energy recovery slightly increased (+2%);
  • Civil engineering uses of whole or shredded ELTs shrunk by 3% as did the reuse of tyres as blasting mats and dock fenders (-15% vs. 2015);
  • The inorganic content of ELTs1 processed in cement kilns is physically incorporated in the clinker, hence effectively recycled. This reality is reflected in the data reported since 2014 (see below charts).

Also, ETRMA notes about the expansion of extended producer responsibility system for used tires in Europe. Three new countries joined the EPR model; among them are: Ireland (2017), Czech Republic and Slovakia (2016). This resulted in establishing Repak ELT, ELTma CZ and ELTma SK as collective systems approved by national authorities.

Source: ETRMA

Source: ETRMA

According to ETRMA, 23 EU countries operate under the EPR regime for tires representing about 65% of EU’s arisings. Some discussions seem to have recently kicked-off in the UK to study the feasibility of introducing an EPR regime for tires.

Mrs. Cinaralp, Secretary General of ETRMA, noted that the tire industry “clearly supports the EPR model when it is backed by clear statutory requirements and provides a separate line on the invoice, showing the environmental contribution for ELT management, ensuring full transparency for both national authorities and to the end consumer.” She added that the latest statistics of ETRMA indicates there is a “saturation of the ELT granulation market in Europe.”

To further develop tire recycling in Europe, new markets for rubber granulate must be found. ETRMA’s report notes that “National Circular Economy Plans and Waste Framework Programmes should incentivise this, as exemplified by the Spanish PEMAR 2016-2022 (State Framework Waste Management Plan), promoting the use of ELTs in asphalt rubber, a very promising market, which is yet underexploited. “EU harmonised end-of-waste criteria for ELT granulates & powder are also needed to ensure a level playing field between virgin and secondary raw materials.”

Original press release: ETRMA