Is the way we think about waste tyres beginning to change?

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A recent comment piece by Gary Moore, sales director, UNTHA UK brought to the fore how we deal with waste tyres in the UK and queried whether, as a result of Covid-19, this had begun to change.

From our perspective we think that it has, and we are actively driving forward the change in mindset through our continuous pyrolysis plant that can provide untold benefits to tyre recyclers and manufacturers in terms of how they deal with ELTs and the waste rubber generated through the manufacturing process.

Let’s face it. It’s a change that needs to come. With almost 50m waste tyres in the UK generated each year, the potential revenue streams from them still lie largely untapped. Some are utilised for rubber crumb in sports pitches and other manufacturing processes. But processing them for energy generation and added value revenue streams in a completely circular manner surely has to be the best way of tackling this particular, hard to recycle waste product?

Taking a look at the facts, the benefits delivered by this method contribute to the UK’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint and find new ways of non-fossil fuel energy generation. Coupled with the fact that all the by-products – pyrolysis oil and carbon char – are products that are used in further energy generation or manufacturing processes it represents a process where no further waste is generated, highlighting the sustainability and efficiencies of the process.

As an industry we need to do more to make this way of dealing with waste tyres more mainstream and capitalise on the change in recent thought processes.

Alex Matthias, Technical Director at IRR Waste 2 Energy commented; “We believe that it’s all about education. If recyclers and manufacturers fully understand the benefits that can be reaped from investing in ELT or rubber crumb waste pyrolysis technology, they can begin to appreciate the positive effects it can bring.

“As Gary stated, payback times for such investments can be achieved in relatively short time scales but the benefits last long into the future. Reducing our need and dependence on fossil fuels, removing waste tyres in a responsible and sustainable manner and making a positive contribution to the cohesive environmental directives and plans to reduce waste and carbon emissions can only be a positive step forward.”