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Tyres

Recycling of tyres is based on producer responsibility. Tyre producers are part of the extended producer responsibility system. Tyre producers need to ensure that the tyres they supply to the market are recycled, and this obligation they can carry out themselves or by transferring their producer responsibilities by contract to the producer organisation.

The tyre producer is a professional manufacturer, importer or retreader of tyres or a vehicle or device with tyre. The producer responsibility covers tyres of vehicles, machinery and equipment. The recycling system requires a comprehensive collection network and a recovery rate of at least 95 % in relation to tyres placed on the market by the producer. The collection network must have at least 350 reception points, at least one in each municipality.

Finnish Tyre Recycling (Suomen Rengaskierrätys Oy) is currently the only tyre producer community in Finland. It offers producer members a full producer responsibility service and the rights and obligations of the parties are defined by an equal producer agreement. https://www.rengaskierratys.com/ammattilaisille/tuottajavastuu

Nearly 100 per cent of tyres are utilised. Approximately 60,000 tonnes of tyres are discarded in Finland every year. Practically all tyres end up being utilised in the tyre recycling system

Reception and utilization of discarded tyres 2008–2020 (tons)

 

A new life for old tyres

The consumer of tyre is not obliged to recycle but returning of the end-of-tyres is easy. The whole scheme is financed by recycling fees, which are eventually collected from the consumers in connection with the purchase of the new tyres. Discarded tyres can be returned free of charge for recycling to any shop selling tyres. The reception points of Finnish Tyre Recycling accept old tyres without obligation to buy. Removal of the rim can be charged separately.

Material and cash flows related to the tyres:

Tyres are stored and sorted at reception points from where they are transported to the recycling operator’s regional terminals for processing for different uses. Finnish Tyre Recycling is the only producer community approved by the Pirkanmaa ELY Centre in Finland. On behalf of the producer members, Finnish Tyre Recycling is responsible for tyre recycling, information and system management in accordance with the law and agreements. https://www.rengaskierratys.com/nain_rengas_kiertaa

 

Versatile exploitation

Tyre recycling follows the order of priority laid down in the EU Waste Directive and the new Waste Act, according to which priority must be given to preventing waste from being generated. Where possible, the aim is to prepare the tyres for reuse, recycling as a material, or utilising them as energy in this order.

Tyre life cycle from the consumer to recovery:

Tyres in good condition can be coated into retreated tyres through a careful inspection procedure. Heavy-duty tyres are coated twice on average in Finland. They are typically coated on the customer’s tyre frame, so they only appear in recycling statistics after decommissioning.

Most of the tyres are used as whole, as a clippings or as a grain for road and earthworks needs. Rubber granulate is used in the surface structures of flexible platforms such as artificial grass, sport areas and playgrounds. Fine rubber materials are used as an asphalt binder to reduce tyre noise and increase the duration of consumption. As landfill construction decreases, new utility solutions are constantly being developed for the discarded tyres in Finland and internationally.

Finland is a leader country in utilization of tyres. According to statistics of 2020, 61 thousand tons of used tyres were collected which corresponds to more than 7 million automobiles. Practically all tyres that are produced are utilized.

Collection and recovery of end-of-life tires: Statistics from Suomen Rengaskierrätys Oy

   Collection    Retreating    Mat Recovery    Other recovery    Energy    Export          Total
2020 61 089 143 51 949 5 743 2 779 32 60 928

 

The recovery routes of end-of-life tyres in 2014 (%):

A tyre becomes part of the Finnish tyre recycling system when it is imported or manufactured in Finland. On average, a passenger car’s tyre is used for about six years. The tyre shop takes care of collecting old tyres. The tyre shop collects the discarded tyres to the large shipping containers, which are maintained and emptied by the recycling operator Kuusakoski Oy. It has approximately 3,000 tyre reception points in Finland.

Kuusakoski collects tyres to terminals, i.e. intermediate warehouses all over Finland. In terminals, they are sorted for further use. They are then cut into pieces of different sizes, for example, for earthworks, water treatment and various coatings. Recycled tyres can have use e.g. in riding areas, playgrounds, land construction, asphalt, blast shelter and water purification. https://www.rengask ierratys.com/nain_rengas_kiertaa/kierratyspolku

  • Used tyres are mainly put into secondary use as sound barriers as well as road covers and water treatment systems. Sound barriers are built next to motor ways but also around shooting ranges decreasing noise emissions. In addition, used tyres are used in constructing kid’s playgrounds, sport tracks and racetracks. Rubber scraps are added to asphalt to increase its freeze resistance.
  • From 2012 Finland has developed innovative ways to use recycled tyres for water treatment. The technology is based on rubber’s ability to filter certain elements and also function as a base for growing microbes. The technology is also used on fields and landfills.
  • Another option is to utilize tyres as energy or process them using pyrolysis. The first pyrolisis plant based on pyrolisis technology is built in Nokia by a company Kiertoketju Oy.

Visualization of how used tyres are utilized and recycled in Finland: