The current status of the UK tyre recovery market is exciting and visionary but is not without its challenges.
A handful of companies in the UK are pushing the boundaries of how tyres are processed in the UK, including the team here. Others are facing challenges of securing feedstock as the UK seemingly continues it high volume exports to India.
The part we play
Since 2020, Carlton Forest Renewables has been developing, commissioning, and refining its continuous pyrolysis plant for end-of-life tyres, the first of its kind in the UK.
Simply, it will provide a game changing solution to the way the UK initially, but also countries across the globe, will be able to recover tyres through a truly circular process.
Recognised as one of the major players in the future of tyre recycling and recovery, pyrolysis, the thermal decomposition of materials to return them to their initial components, sees ELTs heated through a rotating kiln to create by-products of carbon char and tyre pyrolysis oil (TPO).
Most excitingly, aside from the technological developments and the deployable nature of our plant, is the way in which these by-products are valuable commodities to other industries such as the creation of green, or future fuels, and as a sustainable alternative to virgin carbon black (vCB) which uses natural sources of carbon.
We’re certainly playing a part in shaping the future of the tyre recycling sector in the UK, from a technology point of view, but what else can we do to elevate the tyre recycling sector in the UK?
As a relatively small sector, our team is committed to supporting all elements of the industry and working collaboratively together to secure its marketplace so that we can all make a pivotal impact together.
Industry bodies such as the Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) and the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) recognise the part that pyrolysis plays in changing the way in which ELTS are dealt with.
They also recognise the challenges faced in terms of the volume of tyre exports that still take place, and the inconsistency in the supply of feedstock and volatility of market conditions.
Together, we are working to secure the future of the industry and to steer this future in a way that will support the responsible recovery and recycling of tyres in the UK.
Challenges to overcome
It wasn’t so many years ago that the UK Government was expected to ban the export of ELTS, just as Australia have done with some success.
Furthermore, the use of ELTS as rubber crumb for sport pitches etc has not been without its negativity too. However, perhaps as a nation we need to look at solving the problem rather than moving it somewhere else.
Pyrolysis provides the perfect circular solution to remove these hard to recycle materials from our waste streams, and the shores of other countries where they are shipped.
We are confident though, that by working collaboratively, and supporting all those involved in securing a strong future for our industry, great things can be achieved.
We believe that the future of European tyre recycling is sustainable and that it can become a market that is profitable and stable.
To that end though, the overall vision has to be how to make the ELT market across the globe more sustainable, more responsible and agile and the UK Government, tyre recyclers and business investors have to prioritise the long term environmentally responsible vision, rather the short-term financial gain.
To find out more about the work that we are doing and our pyrolysis plant, please visit our Renewables page.