Tyres contain multiple valuable materials such as rubber (75%), steel (15%) and textile fibres (10%). Tyres that cannot be used anymore and are disposed of become an end-of-life tyre (ELT). Around 50% of ELTs in EU are mechanically recycled to recover their high-value materials. By breaking down the rubber contained in waste tyres into smaller granules, recycled rubber can be used in many applications across diverse sectors e.g., sports, construction, agriculture, automotive, etc.
However, with the lack of regulatory incentives to enhance existing and develop new end-markets for recycling, a significant volume of tyres are incinerated. In other words, for every one tyre incinerated in Europe one tyre is mechanically recycled. EuRIC advocates for a favourable policy framework that includes:
- a ban on the export of unprocessed waste tyres outside the EU;
- establishing criteria that obligate tyres to be designed for mechanical recycling, so that most of its raw materials i.e., rubber and steel can be recovered;
- measures to prevent imports of non-REACH-compliant tyres into the EU;
- green public procurement and mandatory recycled content targets for rubber products to ensure recycled materials from ELTs replace virgin raw materials in the automotive (e.g., tyres and OEM applications) and construction sectors (e.g., asphalt and road paving);
- traceability of recycled materials from tyres and compliance with high-quality standards along the value chain; and
- a harmonised EU-wide end-of-waste (EoW) criteria that stimulates the use of recycled materials from ELTs.