Murfitts Industries, the UK’s leading tire recycling and reprocessing company, and ETIA announced that the two companies intend to form a unique partnership delivering commercial scale solutions for recycling of end-of-life tires to recover their valuable raw material and energy content.

Murfitts Industries has been working with ETIA for a number of years and the proposed joint venture will build on that strong relationship. ETIA is a French engineering group and part of Vow ASA, an international technology company listed in Norway.

Murfitts has carried out extensive trials with ETIA’s technology and proven that the process consistently produces a recovered carbon black (rCB) which exceeds the properties of the virgin materials it replaces. Murfitts has tested various formulations to meet a range of exact specifications, with a particular focus on feeding the rCB back into the manufacturing of new tires, thus completing a circular production process. In addition to the rCB, the process recovers pyrolytic oil and syngas which can be used as low carbon fuel.

The partnership is backed by Murfitt’s parent company European Tyre Enterprise Ltd (ETEL) and ETIA parent Vow ASA. Murfitts collects end of life tires from its ETEL sister companies Kwik Fit and Stapleton’s, as well as other tire retailers, recovering and processing a total of around 20 million tires annually. It therefore has ready access to the quantities of feedstock required to deliver the tire sector’s first fully fledged materials recovery solution on a commercial scale.

ETEL is committed to improving sustainability at all stages of the tire life cycle and has been working closely with tire manufactures on a variety of development programmes including Project TREE, an initiative to improve the sustainability of natural rubber production in Indonesia. Its programmes are therefore not limited to the UK, and it anticipates that in partnership with Vow the new process could be operating in a range of international markets in the near future.

Mark Murfitt, managing director of Murfitts Industries, said: “This is a major milestone in delivering a commercially viable materials recovery solutions in the tire sector. Together we can bring together all the elements required, from reliable feedstock, through proven delivery of precise rCB specifications, to strong relationships with manufacturers. We can deliver a clean sustainable process which generates its own energy to recover valuable raw materials and make significant carbon savings compared to virgin sources. With the backing of ETEL and Vow, we believe the new company could be rapidly scaled internationally and make a significant difference in reprocessing end of life tires around the world.”

“Together with Murfitts, ETEL and Itochu, we are forming a unique British-French-Japanese-Norwegian partnership. We see a huge opportunity for Vow technology and our combined competence and capacity in a rapidly emerging market. We have agreed to come together to offer a truly sustainable method for handling post consumer tires and at the same time taking important steps towards decarbonising the tire industry,” said Henrik Badin, CEO of Vow ASA.

ITOCHU Corporation, the parent company of Murfitts and ETEL, has the core policy of “enhancing our contribution to, and engagement with, the SDGs through business activities” at the heart of its Medium-term Management Plan “Brand-new Deal 2023”. Through the commercialisation of recycling end of life tires to deliver rCB in partnership with the VOW Group, ITOCHU aims to make a major contribution to the realization of a circular society.

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