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Used tyres debate: action needed now not tomorrow

‘EU policy should do more to support tyre recycling,’ urged Poul Steen Rasmussen, ceo of Genan, at EuRIC’s latest tyre recycling conference. His fellow speakers agreed that ‘immediate action’ is necessary to boost recycling capacity, efficiency, safety and new applications.

To achieve the ambitious goals set out in the Green Deal it is essential that stakeholders from the entire tyre value chain work closely together to solve sustainable problems and increase the use of recycled materials from tyres in many different products, including new tyres!’ Ramussen told delegates in Brussels.

One of the main topics discussed was the proposed EU ban on the use of rubber infill in artificial turf pitches. Client Earth’s legal specialist Hélène Duguy presented the NGOs’ approach, which leans towards on a ban in order to prevent ‘plastic pollution’. Recyclers, however, are not convinced of such a drastic measure that would significantly shrink demand for recycled tyres.

This sparked a debate about assessing safety in the sector, led by Juan Carlos Gonzalez Garcia from the Instituto de Biomecanica de Valencia and Reinhold Schultz, spokesman for the Silkeborgbanen project. They argued that the implementation of Risk Management Measures ‘have demonstrated their effectiveness’ with an estimated annual release of microplastics under the limit suggested by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Both speakers advocate the use of strict risk management measures that will prevent the release of microplastics immediately, rather than banning the use of rubber infill in artificial turf pitches in eight years’ time.

EuRIC’s secretary general Emmanuel Katrakis concluded: ‘It’s clear that the European tyre recycling industry needs some regulatory signals — including on market access through end-of-waste criteria and improved recyclability features that do not compromise tyres’ safety.’

He underlined that the tyre recycling industry is ‘united’ behind the priorisation of tyres within the framework of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products’ Regulation.

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