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NEW LIFE: From a Throwaway Society to a Circular Economy

Around 584,000 tons of used tires are generated every year in Germany – tires are an innovative product with valuable materials. But usually, they have a lifespan of between one to six years, depending on how much they are driven.

That creates a mountain of used tires every year. In about a third of the cases, used tires are simply incinerated. However, this is not in line with the principle of achieving a functioning recycling economy, the aim of which is to use and process raw materials in a resource-conserving way. Accordingly, ideally, old tires are shredded and broken down into their parts to produce high-quality products, which can often be used much longer than tires. Just think of fall protection floors on playgrounds or artificial turf pitches for professional football. Thus, the original product is returned to the recyclable material cycle and has properties superior to other products when used in this way. The nine partner companies of the NEW LIFE initiative have set themselves the goal to use recycled material from end-of-life tires as a sustainable raw material for high-quality products with a long-term lifespan and to raise people’s awareness to consume consciously.

www.initiative-new-life.de

Westeria GmbH

Westeria is a German company from Westphalia with over 60 years of experience producing innovative machinery.

Since 1956, our product portfolio has largely grown to provide high-quality machines, technical expertise and excellent service to our clients. We are constantly developing new recycling machines and conveyor systems for what is perhaps the biggest challenge of the present day: make the circular economy a valuable and profitable reality all over the world.

www.westeria.de

Back Market

Back Market is the largest refurbished tech marketplace in Europe and now operates in over 10 countries worldwide, including the US and UK.

Spurred on by the megatons of e-waste produced every year, Back Market’s ambition is to motivate people to rethink their tech consumption and switch to sustainable alternatives. The final goal is to create a circular economy by not only reselling used products to users but also buying and trading in their old ones.

www.backmarket.de

ESWET: Time to ensure sustainable waste shipments in Europe

ESWET welcomes the Commission’s initiative to carry out a revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation as a right step in the path of the European Green Deal. Proper waste management is a key aspect of the green transition.

Over the past decades, exports of waste to non-European countries have rose steadily, pushing the waste issue far away but failing to properly address it. Repeated abuses in international waste shipments have highlighted the need for Europe to take care of its waste under EU environmental standards.

For a pragmatic approach on the matter, ESWET releases today a policy briefing with a number of recommendations targeted at an efficient revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation.

  • Adopt a proximity approach to waste export, maintaining EFTA countries as a preferential partner.
  • Keep the Waste Shipment Regulation flexible enough to ensure the synergy of the waste hierarchy: every level has a role to play in the circular economy for the safe management of waste.
  • Further reduce the flow of waste shipped outside of the EU, as sound waste management is often uncertain in non-OECD countries.
  • Support the creation of a functioning market for secondary raw materials recovered by the recycling industry and Waste-to-Energy plants.

In order to make waste shipments out of Europe a thing of the past, Europe needs to further support internal and sustainable waste treatment practices. As waste generation is growing, the need in non-recyclable waste treatment capacity is expected to significantly increase.

It is thus crucial for the EU legislators to consider the role of waste-to-energy in the circular economy as a complementary tool to recycling. Otherwise non-recyclable waste would be left with no option for treatment but landfills.

The full policy briefing is available here: https://bit.ly/33bisOq

Source: ESWET – European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology aisbl (Brussels, 30 July 2020, Photo: Rinson Chory/Unsplash)

GLOBAL RECYCLING – The Magazine for Business Opportunities & International Markets

The English-speaking GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine is dedicated to business opportunities in the recycling industry and informs the readership about the international recycling market.

Thus, the magazine focuses on editorial coverage from the areas of international waste management, circular economy, and recycling industry. Nevertheless, the magazine does not disregard other topics such as waste paper, plastics as well as scrap and metal recycling. Additionally, every issue presents recycling processes, methods, and machinery.

Another of the magazine’s aims is to give more people access to these topics. Therefore, we attach great importance to distributing our publication at numerous international fairs, congresses, and conferences.

Apart from the visitors of these fairs, the readership of GLOBAL RECYCLING is made up of business owners, heads of departments, consultants, public authorities, and municipalities. These readers especially appreciate the various topics, which are touched upon in every issue by us.

www.global-recycling.info

Substantial environmental benefits from mechanical tyre recycling into infill for artificial turf pitches are demonstrated by new LCA Study

Tyres are complex products subject to strict standards to fulfill mobility and safety requirements. Proper treatment of end-of-life tyres (ELTs) is essential to recover valuable materials of which tyres are made, namely rubber, steel and textiles. A new peer-reviewed study, based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) meeting ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards, made by the Danish FORCE Technology Institute and the German ifeu – Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH[1] demonstrates that mechanical recycling of ELTs into infill for artificial pitches is, by far, the most sound treatment option in terms of circularity and climate benefits. The LCA study shows that the mechanical recycling of an average of 400,000 tonnes of ELTs processed into infill for artificial turf – when compared with energy recovery – spares the environment 280,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually in the EU. To give an order of magnitude, ELT recycling as infill into artificial turfs offsets greenhouse gases emissions (GHS) comparable to the amount of GHS absorbed by 140,000 hectares (approx. 250 million trees) of forest land in the EU[2].

In Europe, more than 3 million tonnes of ELTs are generated annually. From these ELTs, it is estimated that around 60% are used in material recovery applications. This means that almost 40% of the discarded tyres mostly follow a linear economy model, involving combustion for energy recovery which generates greenhouse gases emissions, posing an environmental concern especially when those tyres are exported to non-EU countries with less stringent environmental legislation. In contrast with co-incineration, mechanical tyre recycling yields a valuable greater amount of raw materials for other processes, raw materials that otherwise are often extracted and imported from outside Europe. From those ELTs going through material recovery, 400.000 tonnes are upcycled per year to be used as infill in artificial turf pitches in EU + United Kingdom + Norway. Artificial turf pitches represent one of the main market applications for rubber granulate from ELT and it is present in approx. 75-80% of European artificial turf pitches.

ELT-derived synthetic turf systems offer significant benefits to society due to their ability to sustain intensive use throughout the years in most weather conditions. They are also meeting the highest standards in terms of players’ safety by minimizing the risk of injuries, of skin burns and abrasions (e.g., strained ankles and knee injuries). Furthermore, ELT-derived infill is known to be among the best materials regarding physical and sport performance (i.e., elasticity and durability) as well as in terms of sustainability, having a low carbon footprint in comparison with other alternatives.

The new LCA study confirms the positive climate and environmental footprint of mechanical tyre recycling when compared to co-incineration. On average, for each tonne of end-of-life tyres processed into ELT rubber and used as infill in artificial turf pitches, the climate is spared 700 kg of CO2 equivalents, confirming that ELT recycling supports the overarching objectives set in The European Green Deal to speed up the transition towards a circular economy and achieve climate neutrality by 2050

As the Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has recently expressed a preference for a complete ban with a transitory period for ELT-derived infill in relation to the ongoing assessment of the restriction on intentionally added microplastics, EuRIC MTR looks forward to bringing further evidence that standardized risk management measures can effectively prevent the release of microplastics from rubber granulate into the environment to preserve a sound use of recycled materials offering substantial societal and climate benefits.

[1] Life cycle assessment of waste tyre treatments: Material recycling vs. coincineration in cement kilns, Force Technology with contribution by ifeu – Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH, for GENAN Holding A/S, May, 2020.

[1] European Parliament News. Climate change: using EU forests to offset carbon emissions (Eurostat), April, 2018.

Source:  EuRIC (Photo: O. Kürth)

 

EuRIC unveils Plastic Recycling Brochure

Plastic is an important and ubiquitous material in our daily lives and for the European economy. However, to maximize their multiple benefits and mitigate environmental impacts, improving the circularity of plastics at all stages of the value chain – design, production, use and recycling phases – is instrumental. Recycling plays a key role in that respect by turning waste into high-quality recyclates. By doing so, it contributes to save virgin resources, greenhouse gas emissions and energy. 

Source: EuRIC

The Brochure highlights the importance of moving towards a circular economy for plastics in Europe. It identifies the most commonly used types of plastics and describes the current state-of-play, challenges faced by the European mechanical plastics recycling industry alongside with key recommendations to overcome them. Plastics recycling’s environmental benefits and economic importance is also touched upon.

Paul Mayhew, President of EuRIC’s Plastic Recycling Branch (EPRB) and General Manager at MBA Polymers, emphasized the major contribution that plastics recycling can make towards a circular economy for improving Europe’s competitiveness and resource efficiency.

Moving towards a more sustainable economy for plastics will deliver considerable benefits. What is missing in order to speed up that transition are measures to stimulate the demand for recycled plastics in products through recycled content targets and incentives rewarding their environmental benefits when compared with virgin plastics and a more consistent legislative framework. It is essential to further restrict landfill and incineration of but also better control unprocessed plastic waste exports outside Europe to countries with lower recycling standards.

These measures are even more urgent today with the plastic recycling industry which has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with a plummeting demand and overly low virgin plastics prices with whom recycled polymers compete.

Following the substantiated call for recycled content of plastics in new cars recently launched by EuRIC, this factsheet will be followed by other publications stressing the vital role played by the recycling industry to realize the transition towards a circular economy and to make of the EU the first world-class economy to achieve climate-neutrality by 2050.

Source: EuRIC