Europe's tire recycling group says counts are wrong

April 3, 2015

For some time now leading independent analysts in the tire sector have believed that the figures for end of life tires (ELT) have been underreported. Peter Taylor of the Independent Tyre Manufacturer’s Association has felt that the officially accepted figures have always been inaccurate. This was a belief supported by the European Tyre Recycling Association (ETRA).

At the 22nd ETRA Conference in Brussels, March 25-27, 2015, ETRA presented its own set of statistics. The widely accepted figures for tire arisings in Europe come from the figures produced by the European Tyre Rubber Manufacturers Association (ERTMA), which consists largely of 12 European tire manufacturers. Their statistics give an annual European ELT arising figure of 1.897 million metric tons (2013). The figures quote that, for the UK there are another 20,000 metric tons unaccounted for, and includes historical stockpiles in Norway and Finland of 34,878 metric tons, but exclude unaccounted for tires or historic stockpiles in all other states.

These are the figures upon which tire recycling strategies and programs are established throughout Europe, figures upon which investors base business plans. However, the picture painted by ETRA gives a very different outlook. ETRA’s statistics, based on ETRMA figures, crosschecked with vehicle manufacturer figures and known sales figures arrive at a very different level of tire arisings throughout Europe.

Taking into account, new vehicles and therefore new tire sales, replacement tire sales, and making a 20% allowance for loss through wear, the total arisings across Europe may be as high as 2.99 million metric tons, which is a figure around 57% greater than the traditionally accepted figures.

The ETRA says that figure of 2.99 million metric tons, if correct, raises questions about the standard of data collection and recording across Europe and with such a considerable element of the arisings “missing”, requires that we ask questions about what might be happening to them, under the radar of the governing bodies and governments.

The ETRA is the only body representing the independent tire recycling industry in Europe. Its work is focused on tire recycling and it coordinates research projects, assists its members with European funding and lobbying and has a growing role in promoting and publicizing the use of recycled end of life tire derived materials to the architectural and civil engineering sectors throughout Europe.

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