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Recycling of used tyres

The TMA members consider the issue of recycling of used tyres to be one of the most important conditions for environmental conservation; the process of recycling involves the creation of the full cycle of their collection, transportation and processing. Used tyres are a strategically important product and a source of valuable raw materials: creation of an effective system of the environmentally safe recycling of tyres will not only reduce the current negative impact on the environment, but will also contribute to the economic growth of the country through more efficient use of secondary resources.

On January 1, 2015 amendments to the Federal Law 89-FZ of 24.06.1998 "On Production and Consumption Waste" became effective. They introduce the obligation on manufacturers and importers of tyres to provide for the recycling of used tyres. The number of tyres, subject to recycling per year, is determined by the Government of Russia by establishing the recycling targets. They are to be reconsidered every three years. The recycling target is defined as the percentage of the volume of new products released by manufacturers and importers into circulation. For tyre manufacturers, the following recycling norms have been set for the next years: 20% in 2017-2018, 25% in 2019, and 30% in 2020.

One of the greatest achievements of the new regulation has been providing manufacturers and importers with the possibility to select the method of executing this new obligation. They can pay an environmental fee to the federal budget (at the rate of 7109 RUB per ton of tyres), but they also can recycle the used tyres themselves, in particular giving this work to contractors or a specifically-created branch union. The model of self-facilitated waste management provision by manufacturers and importers through the creation of an industry union has shown good results abroad: due to its implementation in different countries, the proportion of recycled tyres increased twofold over several years.

In January 2017, EcoTyresUnion - a specialized union of tyre producers and importers for independent compliance with the recycling targets of used tyres - was established in Russia. Its founders were international tyre manufacturers - Bridgestone, Continental, Hankook, Michelin, Nokian Tyres, Pirelli, and Yokohama. EcoTyresUnion is authorized to conclude contracts for tyres’ recycling with processing companies on behalf of member companies in order to fulfil the duty of tyre producers and importers to ensure waste disposal from the use of goods after loss of their consumer properties.

However, the implementation of this model in Russia will depend on many factors. The Federal Law set the general scheme of the created waste management system; numerous subordinate acts were adopted. Now, a number of parameters and procedures for the execution of the new obligation require clarification on the part of responsible departments. The TMA members outline the following key conditions for the effective launch of tyre recycling systems in Russia:
  • Confirmation of the work mechanism that sets out that the calculation of manufacturer responsibility for the current year is achieved by multiplying the recycling targets by the volume of the previous year’s release of the goods, not the current year. For example, to determine the extent of responsibility in 2018, manufacturers and importers of tyres have to multiply norms of 20% by their volumes of production of new tyres in 2017. This will be convenient for manufacturers and recyclers as it allows them to work with concrete data rather than estimates and conclude meaningful contracts with recyclers.
  • Diversification of the ways of recycling used tyres: currently, most tyres are disposed of by mechanical crushing where the output product is crumb rubber of different factions. Foreign countries widely use thermal processing methods, for example in the cement industry, as well as pyrolysis technology.
  • Promotion of the collection of used tyres from individuals: at the moment, the main suppliers of used tyres for recycling companies are commercial organizations such as transportation companies, who deliver used tyres, usually from trucks, to recyclers in an organized fashion. Collecting car tyres from individuals is virtually non-existent in Russia. The main centers that accumulate used tyres from citizens are tyre fitting centers and dealerships for selling tyres that provide tyre fitting services. It is necessary to legally facilitate the inclusion of these organizations into the system of the collection of used tyres from individuals.
  • Promotion of the use of products made from recycled used tyres: in the current market conditions, only 50% of crumb rubber is actually sold. To solve this problem there is a need to adopt specific measures by the State to encourage the use of secondary resources in economic circulation. These possible measures may include: the establishment by the state of the percentage of roads that need to be built with the use of rubber crumb at regional and municipal levels, as well as the percentage of procurement of products made from recycled resources; granting of privileges by the state to those enterprises that produce products from recycled resources.
Currently, the TMA's work in the field of recycling of used tyres is focused on participation in discussing the developed amendments to the Federal Law of 24.06.1998 No. 89-FZ "On Production and Consumption Waste" and adopted numerous subordinate acts.