1.90 or 2.99 million tonnes: EU end of life tyres underdeclared, asks ETRA

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Source: European Tyre Recycling Association

Brussels — For some time now leading independent analysts in the tyre sector have believed that the figures for end of life tyres (ELT) have been underdeclared. 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, on the 25th to 27th of March, ETRA presented its own set of statistics. The widely accepted figures for tyre arisings in Europe come from the figures produced by the European Tyre Rubber Manufacturers Association (ERTMA), which consists largely of 12 European tyre manufacturers. Their statistics give an annual European ELT arising figure of 1.897 million tonnes (2013). The figures quote that, for the UK there are another 20,000 tonnes unaccounted for, and includes historical stockpiles in Norway and Finland of 34,878 tonnes – but exclude unaccounted for tyres or historic stockpiles in all other states.

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

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

That figure of 2.99 million tonnes, 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.

Source: European Tyre Recycling Association (ETRA)