Rubber: Vehicle Recycling and Its Impact On the Environment - Part 2 of 5
One of the waste streams from vehicles is rubber, which can account for
approximately 50kg or 5% of a vehicles overall weight. Much of this waste is
diverted to landfill, with up to 20% of the weight of materials disposed in landfill
from end-of-life vehicles made up of rubber. The reuse and recycling of tyres is
being treated as a priority by the European Commission, with the aim of reducing
the amount of waste generated and landfilled. Tyre manufacturers are also
researching different design options with new tyres which are more wear resistant
leading to longer life, and which are manufactured partly from recycled rubber.
There are a variety of ways in which tyres can be reused or recycled, and the
industry is set to grow over the coming years to help meet end-of-life vehicle waste
targets. With this growth will come the development of newer recycling processes to
breakdown the components of tyres for complete recycling.
Retreading is a simple form of reuse; if tyres are in good condition at the time of
scrapping a vehicle, they can be retreaded and reused.
Pyrolisis is a method of heating tyres without air so that oils, gases and carbons are
separated and can be reprocessed for use in manufacturing.
The crumbling of tyres involves shredding the rubber, which is then granulated and
used in other sectors for products such as paint, flooring and surfaces.
Incineration is another form of recycling, where tyres are burnt for the extraction of
Tyres can also be recycled and used as fuel for the manufacture of cement for the
With the targets for the reduction of landfill waste from end-of-life vehicles, the tyre
recycling market will progress over the next decade. The future for tyre recycling is
likely to lay in the development of zero waste recycling methods which will enable
the extraction of all materials from the rubber for reuse directly in manufacturing.
This article is part of the Vehicle Recycling series.