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Used tyres face possible EU redefinition

Used tyres are one of a number of streams that face debate in the European Commission over its status as a non-hazardous waste.

It is one of five recyclables along with paper, metals, glass and aggregates- that could face further discussion and possible redefinition, with a list to be submitted by Caroline Jackson MEP later this month and given due consideration over the coming years.

Jacksons draft on waste initially included 622 possible amendments to EU laws, but that will be whittled down to around 30 that will be voted for further consideration by the Environment Committee later this month.

The Commission has stated that its definition of recycling is the recovery of waste into products or materials, with energy recovery not coming under this umbrella. But as the resource is used widely in cement kilns, there could be focus on this.

The European Tyres and Rubber Manufacturers Association has already stated that it believes creating new products and energy recovery both sit on the same level, and it also wants tyres re-classified from a non-hazardous waste to a raw material.

At present, in Holland for example, used tyres are not under Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restrictions of Chemicals control. But they could be if they were classed as a raw material.

These factors suggest that definitions need some attention, with Bureau of International Recycling tyres chairman Barend Ten Bruggencate sounding a cautionary warning.

He said: We have to be extremely careful where we are and where we need to be. Legislation is so extremely important.

Energy recovery will be very important in Europe. It is seen as the only way for reusing large amounts of tyres and the cement industry has an important role to play. But it is important what direction we go in. What will be the role of those that recycle the material in the future?


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