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EUROPA - Research and Innovation: What's New in Innovation

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tyre Recycling

I have just added the The European Tyre Recycling Association (ETRA) website to my recycling list on my left hand side menu bar for easy reference. Road transportation tyres and alternatives are quite obviously a Pan-European issue.

ETRA claims to be the only European organisation devoted exclusively to tyre and rubber recycling. Founded on 23 September 1994 with 19 members in 5 countries. Today, ETRA has ±250 members in 47 countries including the 25 EU Member States.ETRA membership reflects both the public and private sectors involved in the environmentally safe disposition of post-consumer tyres.

The site (1) contains news items from 2004 to date with conference archives still under construction.

Here are a few figures to play around with in our LCA-Life Cycle Assessments.

"Estimates are that 250,000,000 used tyres are accumulated each year in the countries of the 15 EU. This could supply 45% of European virgin rubber uptake. Only 24% of used tyres is recycled, mostly in low demanding, low price products, that yield low economical profit, stopping R and D investment (most of companies along the recycled rubber supply chain are SMEs). In consequence, the main use of tyres is as fuel substituting one environmental problem for another due to emissions."(2)

This link together with the original research project CRIOSINTER-project link were brought to my attention by the "Research EU" magazine N° 58 Dec08-Jan09.

Here are a few quotes taken from Research EU upon which all car and truck users, but most especially the industrial tyre manufacturers are cordially invited meditate upon.

Business as usual?

"Tyre manufacturers prefer incineration"! According to ETRA's co-founder Valerie Shulman, "The problem is
that recycled rubber is a direct competitor to their own products!" and she further criticises " When tyre manufacturers sign contracts committing them to the incineration path for anything up to 25years they are jeopardizing the future of a sustainable society that is reliant on the emergence of a new recycling-based economic sector"[energy efficient, low carbon emissions path, based on a Full Life Cycle Assessment methodology let me add.]

Sources:
1. The European Tyre Recycling Association (ETRA)

2. CRIOSINTER-project reference

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