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MPS FORMATION – Tires whose life run out ELT

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Tires whose life run out


Table of content




1. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)6

2. The tax system)7

3. The free market7


IN France 13










In July 2014, the European Commission adopted the Communication Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe (COM (2014) 938) to establish a common and coherent EU framework to promote the circular economy. According to the Communication, turning Europe into a more circular economy means boosting recycling and preventing the loss of valuable materials, creating jobs and economic growth, showing how new business models, eco design and industrial symbiosis can move us towards zero-waste, reducing greenhouse emissions and environmental impacts.

As part of the circular economy package, the Commission also adopted a legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste-related targets in the EU, including minimum requirements when developing and applying Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

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The world tire market is dominated by the following main protagonists:

Japan’s group Bridgestone, the French group Michelin and the American group Goodyear. In 2012, these three actors held 39% of the value of the tire market in the world, estimated at nearly 140 billion euros. These three giants of the market followed by the German Continental, Italian Pirelli, the Japanese Sumitomo and South Korea’s Hankook.

In Europe, the tire production sector includes 4,200 companies and employs 360 000 employees. 4.6 million tonnes of tires were produced in 2012, about 252 million passenger tires, light truck and SUV and 9.6 million truck tires for a turnover of 28.2 billion €. European production represents 21% of world production.

In 2012, a little more than 3.4 million tonnes of used tires were managed in an environmentally sound and economically viable manner in Europe (EU27, Norway, Switzerland & Turkey) corresponding to a used tires treatment of 95% .This is a remarkable result, especially when compared with EU recovery rates for paper (71%) and plastics (62%).

The European Directive of 26 April 1999 prohibits the landfilling of used tires. It requires Member States to prefer virtuous recycling methods and environmentally friendly. These pathways affecting over 91% of volumes, making Europe one of the most advanced regions in the world on this issue. Three types of organizations exist: – the system of extended producer responsibility (EPR – case of France); – The tax system; – The free market system. In the EPR system, the state sets a regulatory framework for the recovery of end of life tires and new tires requires producers to arrange for their collection and recovery. The tax system leads the state to set an amount for financing the recycling of end-of-life tires. The State is thus responsible for processing tires and directly pays the operators. The free market sets goals to achieve, without imposing any particular organization. All operators in the chain of collection and recovery are organized freely.

Used tires represent over 85% of waste rubber.

We distinguish:

  • Tires Used Reusable (PUR) that can be retreading or sale as used tires;
  • Not Used Tires Reusable (ELT) to be eliminated.

Used tires are non-hazardous waste but they are dangerous to the environment in case of fire by the emission of toxic fumes.

Used tires are majority owned by:

  • Professional maintenance and car repair
  • Specialist dealers tires (which hold the majority of truck tires, as well as agricultural tires, GC, …)
  • Businesses, communities, carriers, construction companies … (all types of tires, including CG)
  • Waste reception (Cars and Vans only)
  • Farmers (who often keep their tires, and agricultural and VL are PU users for various special applications).
  • Waste Nature

Used tires are essentially composed of mixtures of rubber, steel and various textiles. Average composition of a tire VL Europe

Material / element Weight Percent
Rubbers 48%
Carbon Black 22%
Steel 15%
Textile 5%
Zinc oxide 1%
Sulphur 1%
Additives 8%

Source: ETRA



If at European level, tire waste have been recorded among the priority waste streams by the European Commission, no specific text has been published to date. Waste tires therefore subject to more general guidelines, in particular Directive No. 2008/98 / EC of 19 November 2008 on waste which repealed Directive 2006/12 / EC of 5 April 2006. This Directive provides in particular for certain waste streams, in particular tires, the possibility of losing their waste status, for recovery or recycling to become a product (cumulative general conditions and criteria specific to each waste are to be met). This Directive also establishes a hierarchy of methods of treatment for any type of waste:

  • Prevention
  • Preparation for re-use
  • Recycling
  • Other recovery, eg energy recovery and
  • Elimination.

Furthermore, Directive 99/31 / EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste, states that no used tire is landfilled since July 16, 2007, except bicycle tires and those of outer diameter larger than 1400 mm.

The Landfill Directive (1991/31/EC) which banned the landfilling of most end-of-life-tires (ELTs) since 2006, places ELTs amongst the most obligated waste streams in Europe as no other waste stream has yet been applied a landfill ban.

During planning for the implementation of the Landfill Directive, the tire industry initiated a strategic and self-promoted programme based on producer. This led to the gradual creation of national ELT management companies (ELTcos) backed by a proper statutory regime. Currently there are 19 countries with an ELT proactive producer responsibility regime and 14 operating collective ELT management companies set up at the initiative of tire manufacturers, which means that used tires under producer responsibility law account for about 65% of EU used tires arising’s (2012 data).

Directive 1999/31 / EC of 26 April 1999 which banned the landfilling of used tires requires Member States to prefer virtuous recycling methods and environmentally friendly.

There are no specific EU rules for recycling used tires. Each Member State is free to set up the organization of his choice. There are thus three types of organizations in Europe:

  • The system of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR – including applied by France)
  • The tax system
  • The free market system

It is quite possible for a country to move from one organization to another.

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  1. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

In this system, the state sets a regulatory framework for the recovery of end of life tires and new tires requires producers to arrange for their collection and recovery. In each country having opted for this organization, producers have therefore created a reclamation operation used tires, represented by one or more eco-organizations. At present, this system is the most effective to reach the goal of 100% recycled tires.

Depending on the country, an eco-contribution can or should be clearly identified and quantified. In France this contribution must be incorporated into the price of the new tire.

  1. The tax system

In this system, the state determines the amount of a tax used to finance the recovery of end of life tires. Paid by the producers, this tax is usually passed to consumers. The State is thus responsible for processing tires and directly pays the operators.

  1. The free market

In this system, a legislative framework is confined to setting the targets without imposing particular organization. All operators of the collection system and recycling used tires are therefore in competition. They are also free to organize in cooperation to ensure the best cost valuation. C:\Users\martine\Pictures\TRAITEMENT ELT à partir de 14 sociétés de gestion.JPG

Over the whole of the European Union, nearly 3.4 million used tires were left by consumers in 2007. That same year, the valuation has involved more than 91% of these volumes, making Europe the one of the most advanced regions in the world on this issue. Of all European countries, reuse (retreading and reuse opportunity) represents 16% of used tires treaties, over 32% energy recovery, material recovery almost 39% (excluding public works).


Recovery destination in Europe: 27 EU countries

The annual destination obtained tires used on European territory represents about 3.25 million tonnes for the 27 countries of the European Union, distributed as the following chart.
pfu récupération europe

There are several ways in which the ELTs are treated in order to turn them into a resource.

Preliminary trends for 2013, based on data from 14 ELTcos, show an 11% decrease of material recovery from 2012. Within material recovery, recycling of rubber granulates and powder remains the most important market (82%), end-of-life tire use in civil engineering applications represented in 2013 11% of ELTs sent to material recovery. The volume of ELTs sent to granulation continues to fall (-10%) compared to the previous year due to declining demand for its main applications. As far as ELT rubber granulates are concerned, available data2 shows that the markets for ELT granulates are changing. Synthetic turf, which a few years ago accounted for about 50%, now represents only 26%. This fall was compensated by an increase in exports (21% vs. 7% in 2010), and in molded objects and sport and children playgrounds (22% and 20% respectively vs. 17% and 15% in 2010). Another significant trend is the drop in asphalt and road paving applications (from 7% in 2010 to 1% in 2013) despite the many advantages rubberized asphalt proposes compared to conventional road paving solutions.

Reduced public investment in new infrastructures (sport surfaces, construction road maintenance, etc.) due to the economic downturn contributed to a situation of sluggish demand for ELT granulates on the EU market. Creating markets for secondary raw materials (recyclates) based on public procurement, amongst others, must be further promoted by the national authorities, as mentioned in the Circular Economy Communication (COM(2014)938). Since a precondition for recycling is the existence of a market for recycled materials and final products, there is a need to support and develop markets for ELT-derived products. Green public procurement should be more integrated in both national and EU-derived policies. Energy Recovery Of the 1.26 million tonnes of ELTs, the cement industry remained the main user of ELT shreds or whole tires (91% in volume), whilst district heating and power plants absorbed the remainder. Preliminary trends for 2013, based on data from 14 ELTcos, show a 12% year-on-year increase in ELTs used in the cement industry, while, the quantities used for electricity generation dropped by 5%. The use of ELTs in the cement industry should be rather defined as co-processing whereby the ELTs are partly recycled in the clinker (substituting raw materials such as iron, silica and zinc) and partly used to substitute conventional fuel.

A research by Ecopneus – the main Italian ELTco – shows that the use of ELTs in cement kilns and for material recovery purposes are nearly on a par with regard to the environmental benefits: each tonne of ELT sent to material recovery avoids a greenhouse gas emission of 1.96t of CO2eq vs. 1.62t of CO2eq in cement kilns and 0.13t of CO2eq when used for electricity production. This corroborates previous results from Aliapur (2010) and encourages the use of a portfolio of recovery technologies in order to fulfill ELT regulatory targets. Emerging routes Carbon substitution in the steel industry: ELT shreds are used in Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) steelmaking to partially substitute the use of coke, as an alternate carbon source. This route – used in Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and France – absorbed in 2013 7.000 tonnes of ELTs, an increase of 11% compared to the previous year. Pyrolysis, thermolysis and gasification result in an anaerobic thermal decomposition which turns tires into three product fractions: solid char, pyrolytic gas and liquid pyrolysis oil with a typical product distribution of 40% char, 50% oil and 10% gas. The economic viability of this emerging recovery route is hampered by the fact that the quality, and prices of the obtained pyrolytic byproducts often fail to justify the process costs. Despite the proliferation of new lab-scale reactor projects, the economic viability of industrial scale processes has yet to be demonstrated. Based on data from 14 ELTcos, about 15.000 tonnes of ELTs were used for pyrolysis in 2013, a year-on-year reduction of 25%.

Devulcanisation is a potential method of recycling ELT rubber. As its name implies, when subjected to mechanical or thermal stress or ultrasound radiation, the structure of the vulcanized ELT rubber is modified. The resulting material can be re-vulcanised or transformed into useful products. Ideally, devulcanisation would yield a product that could serve as a substitute for virgin rubber, both in terms of properties and in terms of cost of manufacture. However, and despite the efforts of the tyre industry, current use remains low because of its negative effect on rubber compound characteristics and performance. International data Globally, recovery rates for ELTs have also increased significantly, but recovery rates in the EU (above 90% since 2007) remain higher than any other analyzed country, making Europe one of the most advanced regions in the world in terms of treating ELTs.

STANDARDS FOR IMPROVED ELT-DERIVED PRODUCT QUALITY The ongoing development of quality standards for ELT derived materials at CEN level (TC366), together with the high ELT recycling and recovery performance achieved throughout Europe, is a major step towards obtaining the end of waste status for ELT-derived products. Furthermore, the development of EU standards contributes to a significant increase in the quality level of tire-derived products while opening the market to new applications, promoting technology exchanges and access to know-how and innovation, and protecting the environment. Further to the progress achieved in 2011 (establishment of the new CEN TC366), and 2012 with a business plan aiming at the validation and conversion of the CEN TS14243 into an EN standard, important progress was made in the four created WGs. In WG1, CEN TS14243 was split in 4 parts (general aspects, granulates and powder, shreds, cuts and chips, steel wires & textile fibres) and progress was made in validating each element of the standard. In WG2 (Physical properties of materials) and WG3 (Chemical composition of end-of-life tires), members reviewed numerous test methods in both fields and proposed adapting some of the existing methods for the control of conventional rubber materials. Exploratory work is ongoing in WG4 to establish a common framework to define which whole tires can be recycled. Finally, advances have been made in CEN TC 217 WG10 “Environmental aspects of sports surfaces” which has finalised a standard for controlling leachates from synthetic turf pitches. ETRMA is involved as Liaison in CEN TC366 and CEN TC217.

Granulates, powder and chips from tires: a whole new product Tire collection and treatment still costs about €600 million annually, an extra cost which is mostly paid by consumers. The industry is mature enough to turn worn-out tires into a true resource, effectively contributing to the EU resource efficiency roadmap and reducing the costs connected to collection. There is a potential of additional annual value of at least €1 bn. over the next decade but a major obstacle is the persisting qualification of the derived products of worn-out tires as waste under the EU Waste Directive 2008/98/EC. Recycling markets will benefit strongly from harmonized, EU-wide end-of waste criteria, resulting in:

  • creation of a true single market
  • reduction of administrative burdens
  • further professionalization of the markets Granulates, powder and chips from ELTs can be used in a very wide number of applications, from running trucks to roads, from children playgrounds to the automotive industry.

In 2012 about 1.1 million tonnes of ELT rubber were employed in this manner, but the real challenge is to turn further 650,000 tonnes of ELT granulates, powder and chips into a true resource.

Establishing end-of-waste criteria would enhance the reliability and the status of compliant granulates/powder and chips as high-quality secondary raw material, reinforce their quality assurance, and strengthen consumer confidence in the product.

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  1. In France

In France, The device on the treatment of used tires set up by the decree of 22 December 2002. It has been replaced by the decree 2015-1003 18 August 2015. What is new is : producers must collect and recycle used tyres within the limits of the tonnage which they have placed on the market the previous year more 10%.


The provisions of Article R. 543-137 and following of the Environment Code are very clear

  • It is prohibited to abandon or burn used tires in nature.
  • The valuation is preferred to destruction.
  • Any new tire sold in France in any way whatsoever, must be valued.
  • Within the tonnage of their sales of the past year, producers must collect or make collect and treat or seek treatment at their own expense, used tires that are held by distributors or present in companies and local communities holding.
  • Producers can come together to collectively assume their obligations.
  • Distributors of new tires must take back used tires to the limit of their annual sales.
  • The elimination of inventories before the decree of application date is the responsibility of the holder.

The application of official texts usually results in an eco-contribution on each new tire purchased. This contribution varies according to categories of tires. For a passenger tire, it is 1.25 € HT in 2015. This cost has decreased by over 43% since the launch of the sector in 2004 (2.20 €. The eco-tax is used to finance recovery and recycling of used tires, from collection to final processing into new products.

  • producers, who put new tires on the French market:

Tire manufacturers sold in France: manufacturers

Tires importers in France: the importing distribution

Those who put on the market tires to their brand: some distributors

The importers in France of gear equipped with tires: manufacturers and distributors of machinery, built abroad, they import or introducing in France.

  • distributors who sell new tires:

Garage Keepers, auto centers, point of sale, repair and distribution networks that sell new tires,

Car dealers, garage owners selling second-hand vehicles equipped with new tires.

  • holders

Undertakings which own used tires to their professional activity.

Local authorities who conducted separate collection

  • Manifolds

These are the companies that provide the collection, with distributors and holders of used tires, their grouping, sorting, and transporting them to a disposal facility.


Reuse or retreading

The use for public works and civil engineering

Energy recovery

The use by farmers for silage

The grinding and granulation for material recovery.

The removal can be done only in facilities approved (Europeans or their equivalents).

    2. Distributors

They must take back a used tire tonnage equal to that of new tires sold by them last year.

    1. Producers

They must collecting or make collecting every year at their own expense used tires that are made available to them by distributors or owners within the limits of their sales tonnages of the past year.

Recover or make recover used tires collected or used for their own account. Report annually to the state quantities of tires placed on the market and eliminated. They can come together to meet their obligations collectively. To collectively fulfill their obligations, three bodies have been created by tire producers:

  • ALIAPUR company by manufacturers and primary producers,
  • GIE (Economic Interest Grouping) Recycling tire France by other producers,
  • COPREC society.
    1. The collectors

They require the approval by their prefecture, a 5-year term. For this, they must meet their specifications providing for:

  • Demonstrate technical and financial capacity,
  • Ensure traceability and communicate to the State the amount of collected tires
  • The duty collection in the area concerned;
  • Collecting the technical, grouping, sorting and transport;
  • The obligation to deliver waste tires to persons who will carry out an agreed valuation.

They can work with providers that are under their responsibility.

    1. Distributors and holders

They must hand used tires to:

  • Authorized collectors.
  • Recovery facilities licensed operators
  • Public works companies, backfilling, civil engineering
  • Farmers for silage.

Stock holders were required to remove or to eliminate them before July 1, 2009.

The processing device used tires set up by the decree of December 22, 2002 is about to explode.

The surplus of used tires is growing. It is not valued and therefore outside part of the treatment system. Actors recycling, now refuse to handle surpluses piling up in the workshops.

The manufacturers are grouped in a network controlled by ALIAPUR, which is the main tire recycling company in France.

Some tires are beyond recovery and, indeed, appear surplus for the recycling sector

Aliapur, over the last five years, recorded over 30 000 tonnes of surplus, estimated at 7.5 million euros.

Also according ALIAPUR, surplus tires have various origins:

– Producers who “lower bounds their statements or do not value”;

– Tires purchased over the Internet without payment of eco contribution;

– Tire from ELVs.

Aliapur notes surplus and refuses to take charge and garages are drowning in used tires. The risks are then maximum: safety, environmental, insurance-(some operators have warned against the risk of fire workshops, not covered by insurance because of the importance of stocks).

  3. Prevention / Reduction

Reduce the production of waste tires (PU) is possible by extending the life of tires. For this, you must:

  • regularly check the inflation of your tires,
  • properly use the steering of your car (avoid wheels stopped robberies)
  • limit starts and hard braking,
  • adopt a flexible conduct

By giving a second life to your tires, especially for truck tires through retreading (they usually remain your property: so you get your own tires after retreading).

  1. Management

The storage of used tires is a danger to the environment and health in case of fire on the storage site or the illegal dumping (toxic fume emissions and possibly an oily liquid).

Fire tire quickly becomes unmanageable.

It is for this reason that tires should be stored in the state, in an enclosed area protected from the elements if possible, in separate piles to avoid the risk of fire and theft. To the extent possible, the storage should be limited to small amounts.

Storage is regulated by section 2663 of ICPE.

Used tires should not be mixed with other waste (soiled tires oil, earth …), otherwise they will not be repeated. Moreover, used tires unsuitable for reuse or retreading are not included for free.

  1. Collect

Some used tires have a considerable market value because they are reusable. A professional of sorting can often generate 20 to 40% of a batch of used tires through a reusable PU (used, export …) or retreadable.

The tires can be entrusted either to:

  • PU specialized collectors: the carcassers,
  • generalists multi waste collectors
  • GPs collectors of automotive waste.

These collectors must be licensed.

Individuals may file used tires in waste collection centers, or with automotive professionals who have the obligation to take back as replacements.

  1. Recovery

The Used Tires (PU) may follow different recovery processes:

  • Reuse by reemployment

These are tires with regulatory wear threshold is not reached and after a quality control can still be used for the same purpose as the original, that is to say, the vehicle equipment. These tires can be sold on the second hand market.

  • Reuse by retreading

Retreading which consists in replacing the worn tread of the tire, so that it finds its original quality;

  • material recovery or recycling

Definition of the European Union: “Any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original purpose or for other purposes. This (…) does not include energy recovery, conversion for use as fuels or for backfilling operations. ”

For ALIAPUR industry, material recovery is the process of treatment and processing of used tires in allowing a new use in another form, such as shredded tires, granulate or powder. (granulation which enables the manufacture of the granulate or of the crumb rubber used in the manufacture of parts (wheels, …), coating and road sports floors, products sealing and sound insulation …;)

It may also be, in small part, whole tires used in some applications in particular Public Works.

Reuse of whole or shredded tires to manufacture various rubber products: in road building (for land reinforcements, carrying lightweight embankments – processes like “Pneusol”) for the realization of retention basins in the fight against vibration, against noise, for silage

  • Energy recovery

The PU can also be recycled as alternative fuels, particularly in cement kilns equipped with a fume filtration system, given the high calorific rubber (1 ton PU = 1 tonne of coal in energy content).


Reuse (retreading and used)

Energy recovery

Materials recovery

Reuse (retreading and used)

Energy recovery

Materials recovery

  1. Transport

The carrier must report its activity in the prefecture if the quantity transported exceeds 500kg of non-hazardous waste per load.


Europe leads policy on waste ELTs.

Producer Responsibility is the most widespread system for the management of ELTs in Europe. Life lengthening technologies of tire, such as retreading, have a great development, since the Retreaded tire production, in OECD countries, is a well-developed and mature industry. ELTs shredding and grinding technologies are widespread and a large market of companies that have covered this sector. Energy recovery of ELTs is a growing worldwide market, ranging from cement kilns to steel plants and any industrial boiler. Energy recovery technologies, such as pyrolysis and gasification, which have the added value of obtaining synthetic products, has created a new trend in tire recycling technology, using pre shredded tire.

In general, the leaders in environmental technology sector expand its technology to this waste by seeing it as a new market with a tendency to grow.


ETRMA – European Tire & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association

The European Tire Recycling Association.