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Recycling is big news. We all know that there is much being done to encourage consumers and businesses to be more responsible and at the recent COP26 summit, this was one factor that played a part in the wider climate change issues.

At Carlton Forest Renewables, work is ongoing to launch the UKs first pyrolysis plant for end-of-life tyres, one of the hardest to recycle materials that is currently generated. Furthermore, the project will widen awareness of the impact this technology could have on the waste tyre sector, the potential ELTs deliver as a resource, and the way in which the pyrolysis oil generated can be successfully utilised.

The waste tyre sector

In figures generated by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs there is in excess of 55m waste tyres generated in the UK each year.

From July 2003 whole tyres were banned from landfill and the same applied to shredded tyres in July 2006. Since then, the problem of what the UK does with its waste tyres continues to be ever present however early in 2020 it was muted in the Environment Bill that a ban on this was to be expected.

As it currently stands, no definitive legislation has been issued regarding this however, in the background much work is being done to ensure there is an alternative way for the UK to deal with its waste tyres and indeed no longer see them as waste but view them as a valuable commodity that can add value to renewable fuel obligations and targets and make a significant contribution to net zero targets. One way that this can be achieved is by using pyrolysis, as we are doing at Carlton Forest Renewables.

What is pyrolysis and why is it important?

Pyrolysis is a simple process. It is where waste material, typically that which is hard to recycle, is subject to high heats and results typically in a by-product of oil and carbon char, all of which is able to be re-purposed making the process entirely circular.

It is important because of the way that it has minimal environmental impact when dealing with hard to recycle material such as end of life tyres, and that it generates valuable commodities rather than further waste.

These commodities can play an important part in not just the tyre recycling sector but also in other sectors that are working hard to achieve sustainability targets. The Renewable Transport Fuel Association (RTFA), of which the business is a member, is driving forward the use of pyrolysis for end of life tyres and in a June post to its website commented; “We believe that there is a huge potential for the pyrolysis sector to assist the Government in achieving Net Zero by 2050.” With a view that … ”the products (ELTs) should be classified as resources, not waste…”

It’s this type of work that is so important to the overall way that end-of-life tyres are viewed and processed in the UK; who knew that so much could be reaped from one of the most hard to recycle waste streams in the world.

Investing in the future

Success of these visions and sustainability targets are made all the more possible when all involved are working to the same goal and this is why the work of the RTFA is important – co-ordinating and lobbying to make a tangible difference.

End of life tyres are definitely a resource, not waste, and we look forward to our plant becoming fully operational in the weeks ahead, the first of its kind in the UK.

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