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New outlets required: tyre granulates market ‘saturated’ in Europe

Almost 95% of all used tyres in Europe were collected and treated in 2016, reports the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA).

End-of-life tyre (ELT) arisings in Europe reached 3.9 million tonnes in 2016, which represents an increase of approximately 66 000 tonnes or 2% compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, reuse of part-worn tyres dropped by 5%. After sorting, around 3.29 million tonnes of ELTs remained for further treatment.

ELT granulation continued to be ‘strong’ with a growth rate of 9.3% when compared to 2015, the association points out. ELTs sent to energy recovery increased ‘slightly’ by 2%. Civil engineering uses of whole or shredded ELTs shrank by 3% while reuse of tyres as blasting mats and dock fenders was down 15%.

Initiative for tyres

As of 2018, 23 countries were operating under an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for tyres, representing around 65% of EU arisings. ‘Some discussions seem to have recently kicked off in the UK to study the feasibility of introducing an EPR initiative for tyres,’ the association comments.

‘The tyre industry clearly supports the EPR model,’ notes the ETRMA’s secretary general Fazilet Cinaralp, ‘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.’

However, latest market trends seem to indicate a ‘saturation’ of the ELT granulation market in Europe, Cinaralp observes. It is of ‘paramount importance’ that new market outlets are developed for ELT granulates, she adds.

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