End-of-life management of tyres

About 1.5 billion tyres are sold every year worldwide (IRSG Report 2010), and they naturally become end-of-life tyres.

In 2010 about 2.7 million tonnes were produced in Europe; in 2007 about 4.6 million tonnes were produced in the United States, and about 800 thousand tonnes in Japan. These numbers clearly indicate the dimensions of the phenomenon and its potential environmental impact.

In these three cases, the efforts made by institutions, producers and recovery chains have made it possible to achieve extremely positive results. In Europe, 96% of end-of-life tyres (ELT) were recycled in 2010. In the United States, nearly 90% of ELT were recycled, while the corresponding amount for Japan is slightly higher (ETRMA ELT 2010 figures).

The Pirelli Group has been dedicated for years to research on the management of ELTs, through research and innovation at Pirelli Labs, and in collaboration with leading industry institutions inside and outside Italy. Pirelli is active in the Tire Industry Project (TIPG) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), in the ELTs (End of Life Tyres) working group of ETRMA and, at the national and local level, it interacts directly with leading entities active in the recovery and recycling of ELTs.

As a member of TIPG, Pirelli Tyre has collaborated on the publication of a report on the management of ELTs, taking a pro-active approach to raising the awareness both of emerging countries and those that do not yet have a system for recycling ELTs, and to promote their recycling and reuse according to defined management models, which have already been successfully launched.

The following info-graphic illustrates the phases of activity and type of materials that characterise tyre recycling.

Tyre recycling diagram

Tyre recycling diagram