In December 2020, the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) – the umbrella organisation for European Recycling Industries – published the Brochure on Mechanical Tire Recycling highlighting the organization’s contribution towards circular economy and climate neutrality.

EuRIC Brochure presents key facts about mechanical end-of-life tire recycling, which is a major enabler of circularity and climate mitigation for the entire tire value chain.

The Brochure describes the current state of play of ELT management with recommendations to overcome key challenges faced by the European mechanical tire recycling industry be them embedded in legislation, market failures or eco-design. It features key numbers outlining the economic importance of the ELT recycling sector as well as its benefits for the environment and society.

“State of the art mechanical tire recycling entirely supports the European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan,” – stressed Poul Steen Rasmussen, President of EuRIC’s Mechanical Tire recycling (MTR) Branch and Group CEO Genan. “The processing of ELT tires into rubber is not only the most resource-efficient option; it also the most climate-efficient one since for each tonne of ELT recycled -for example as infill for artificial turf pitches- the climate is spared 700 kg of CO2,” – he added.

Currently, out of the approx. 3 million tons (Mt) of tires reaching end-of-life stage annually in Europe, there are more than 1 Mt of tires down-cycled annually in energy recovery, while less than 50% (approx. 1.5 Mt) are mechanically recycled into rubber, steel and textile fibers. Increasing material recovery is essential as natural rubber is a critical raw material in Europe.

A landfill ban for end-of-life tires is far from sufficient to boost tires circularity. The EU needs to consider further measures to closing the loop of the Circular Economy of tires, in particular:

  • Incentives rewarding ELT recycling benefits and recycled content targets to drive the demand for recycled materials from tires, especially rubber, be it in new tires, asphalts, moulded products and construction materials.
  • EU-wide end-of-waste criteria for ELT which are essential to alleviate obstacles impacting circular uses of materials derived from ELT recycling into a variety of applications benefiting society, the environment and industrial symbiosis. While national end-of-waste criteria as the recently adopted by Italy[2] are strongly supported, harmonization at EU level is key for a well-functioning of internal market for secondary raw materials.

Sustainable design of tires to boost their recyclability and minimum thresholds of recycled content to stimulate the demand. Product design requirements shall go hand in hand with a better enforcement at European borders of imported new tires which must comply with European standards to level the playing and protect the environment.

To download EuRIC's brochure, please click here.

Press release by EuRIC.