Very few scrap tires in the EU now go unrecovered.
Recyclers have largely been successful at meeting national and European Union goals and mandates to recycler scrap tires, according to figures offered at the Tyres Committee meeting at the 2012 Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) World Recycling Convention.
Committee Chairman Barend Ten Bruggencate of VACO in the Netherlands reported that in 2010 only 4 percent of scrap tires generated in Europe were disposed of in landfills or incinerators.
Conversely, some 39 percent of end-of-life tires were used in energy recovery applications, some 40 percent were recycled so materials could be used and another 18 percent went into re-use or re-treading applications.
Looking back to 1994, some 62 percent of end-of-life tires in Europe were being incinerated or landfilled, according to Ten Bruggencate, who called the progress made in 17 years “a remarkable change.”
Even though the EU has added nations where recycling practices are not as established as in Western Europe, Ten Bruggencate said it was “encouraging that [increased recycling and decreased land-filling] are the same trends in new EU member states.”
Tyre Committee attendees received an in-depth look of tire recycling in the Netherlands courtesy of Kees Van Oostenrijk of RecyBEM BV, a tire-industry-backed producer responsibility organization for scrap tires in that nation.
The RecyBEM method involves the assessment of an environmental fee when tires are purchased and the operation of a collection system. The RecyBEM system has led to 60 percent of scrap tires being recycled for materials, another 15 percent being sent to energy recovery applications and the remaining 25 percent being re-treaded or exported for re-use. In the Netherlands, no measurable amount of passenger car tires are being landfilled or incinerated, according to Van Oostenrijk.
While RecyBEM is pleased with the results, the organization continues to assess its collection chain to see where environmental performance can be improved, said Van Oostenrijk.
The 2012 BIR World Recycling Convention was May 30-June 1 at the Rome Cavalieri Hotel in Italy.