The American market for rubber infill saw a reduction of nearly 30% over the last few years because of negative media reports focussing on potential safety concerns, according to Robin Wiener. The president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries urges that ‘no safety risks exist’, as it has been proven by over 100 independent studies.
Despite passionate and continuous efforts from industry parties to promote the use of rubber infill, the use of recycled rubber has slumped severely across the United States. One could argue that the benefits of recycled rubber are known, and yet it seems decision makers are not looking at scientific facts, rather ‘letting emotions take over,’ Wiener declared at the London convention organised by the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) last weekend.
Less outlets available
Around 75% of Europe’s end-of-life tyres destined for material recovery – equivalent to more than 1.4 million tonnes per year – serve the vast granulation market. Sadly, end-use applications ‘remain a challenge’, affirmed Fazilet Cinaralp, Secretary General of the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association.
She told the London assembly that ‘many outlets for rubber infill have closed’ and a growing number of municipalities are simply declining to use the material.
More studies to follow
Wiener pointed out that the results of a multi-agency US study into potential risks will be made public next month. She advocated the importance of presenting the conclusions in ‘plain language’ to help convince the public of the true properties of recycled rubber.
On a positive note, Wiener said the US Congress is currently discussing an infrastructure reform. She has therefore joined forces with recycling stakeholders to ‘push for incentives’ for rubber asphalt.
Fazilet added that the European Chemicals Agency will continue to investigate the possible health and environmental impacts of substances contained in the granules and mulches derived from end-of-life tyres. This research is expected to lead to the publication of an intention to restrict other substances in waste tyres in 2019.