One of the biggest tyre retailers in Europe has acquired a major UK recycler, saying it will make the value chain more sustainable.
Itochu, the Japanese parent company of Kwik Fit, has bought Murfitts through its subsidiary European Tyre Enterprise (ETEL). Kwik Fit is the UK retail arm while wholesale distribution is conducted by Stapleton’s Tyre Services.
Murfitts collects and processes the equivalent of around 20 million post-consumer car tyres in the UK each year. Material recovered is used in the manufacture of recycled products such as rubber crumb products for sports surfaces, pathways, children’s playgrounds, carpet underlay and modified asphalt. Its products are exported across the globe.
ETEL says its UK-wide tyre distribution infrastructure will help Murfitts to further improve its tyre collection and processing offering to customers.
Murfitts is looking to commercialise a proprietary pyrolysis technology to decompose tyre feedstock at high temperatures in a vacuum to recover carbon black and recycled fuel oil. It expects the technology to help promote sustainability initiatives in the tyre industry by replacing carbon black with a recycled product.
Itochu recently announced Project Tree, a programme that focuses on the sustainable supply chain of natural rubber, another key raw material of tyres. A company statement added: ‘Together with the acquisition of Murfitts through ETEL, Itochu aims to contribute not only to the reduction of waste but also to making the entire tyre value chain more sustainable.’
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