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What are end-of-life tires (ELTs)?

ELTs are tires that have reached the end of their product life-cycle. They are worn-out, cracked or bursted tires, which cannot be retreaded and are no longer suitable for their intended purpose. ELT management is an issue of major concern in line with our focus on sustainability. Recovering ELTs leads to reduced waste. Moreover, it is a valuable resource for fuel or other material. As conscientious tire manufacturer, we wish to provide you with some guidelines about handling, storing, recycling, and recovering ELTs.

How to handle and store ELTs?

Store end-of-life tires in a place that is sheltered against rain, since the accumulation of rainwater would favor the breeding of mosquitoes inside the tire.

Likewise, end-of-life tires should not be stored on wetlands, flood plains, in ravines, or on any other steeply graded surface.

Open-air or uncontrolled burning in any place is harmful to the environment and is therefore forbidden by many legislations.

Lightening rods should be placed at a safe distance from tire piles.

Precautions must be taken against deliberate or accidental igniting of tire stock piles in the storage area.

Install an adequate number of fire-fighting devices. In addition, sand and dirt can be used to cover burning tires; whereas water can be used to wet unburned tires

preventing ignition.

It is recommended to maintain an adequate buffer zone in the storage area in order to isolate any deliberate or accidental fire.

Provide for an emergency vehicle access road in each tire storage yard and between tire piles.

End-of-life tire composition

A tire is composed of several materials depending on the specific tire type; these include

46–48% rubber

25–28% carbon black

10–12% steel

10–12% oil and vulcanizing agents

3–6% synthetic yarns and textiles

Tire life-cycle

ELT recovery and recycling

When a tire reaches the ELT stage, a proper waste management system is to be applied. It is important that recovery and/or final disposal take place in an environmentally sound manner. ELTs can be destroyed ecologically using the materials obtained for other purposes.

Basically, an ELT can be divided into three product classes:
rubber granules
steel inserts
synthetic yarn inserts and textiles

Recycling by transforming waste tires into rubber powder

Recycling process – pyrolysis

ELTs are separated into mainly oil, carbon black, hydrocarbon, and steel in special pyrolysis plants by means of thermal and chemical decomposition. Components can then be reused or recycled.

For what purposes can end-of-life tires be used?

ELTs can be a low-cost source of fuel when located near a major fuel consumer, such as a power plant or cement factory. They can also be readily processed for a diverse range of construction projects.