Sustainability in the tyre industry

Collecting end of life tyres for a cleaner environment

As a producer responsibility organization for the Dutch legislation on end of life tyres, RecyBEM takes on all the obligation from the decree from the members of the Vereniging Band en Milieu. We collect some eight million used tyres annually and we ensure these tyres are processed in an environmentally-friendly way. As a result, scrap tyres are not left outside, fewer primary raw materials have to be found in nature and CO2 emissions are reduced.
We believe that it is our task in the future as well to ensure a cleaner environment.

Eight million tyres collected annually

In 2004, the ministry for Environment (the ministry for Infrastructure and the Environment) introduced the decree on end of life tyres (Besluit beheer autobanden). With a market coverage of virtually one hundred percent, implementation by RecyBEM has been a success. For each new car tyre which a producer (tyre manufacturer or importer) brings into the Dutch market, RecyBEM collects a used tyre. There are some eight million of them each year. The successful implementation of the decree is down to the discipline in the tyre industry and the effective collaboration between competitors. Apollo Vredestein, Continental, Goodyear/Dunlop and Michelin not only collaborate with one another, they also work with the distributors Van Den Ban and Inter-Sprint. It is unique for an entire sector to join forces to deliver on a major social interest. The ministry for the Environment is especially pleased with our achievements and with the implementation of the Dutch legislation on end of life tyres. We opted for the most practical execution of a chain solution.

Processed in an environmentally-friendly way

The certified collection companies play a key role in the tyres chain. They collect and sort all tyres collected and handle the administration. According to the decree, twenty percent of the tyres collected must be destined for material re-use; our collection companies achieve no less than sixty to seventy percent. That is a fantastic achievement. We hold our RecyBEM-certified collection companies responsible for ensuring that at least ninety percent of the tyres collected are destined for material and product re-use, and that at least fifty percent of the tyres collected must be destined for material re-use. Six to seven out of every ten tyres collected are given a new lease of life when the rubber granulate is used as a raw material in new applications. Furthermore, another twenty to thirty percent of the tyres collected are given a new lease of life, generally as second-hand tyres or sometimes thanks to retreading.

Reduced CO2 emissions and raw materials savings

RecyBEM strives for the most advanced processing possible of scrap tyres. We recycle and re-use ninety percent of the tyres we collect. The RecyBEM system provides raw materials (32 million kilos of rubber and steel) and energy through recycling and incineration with energy recovery. This leads to a reduction of almost 60,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions. The CO2 we save is thus equivalent to the emissions caused by driving 400 million kilometers. That’s 10,000 circumnavigations of the globe or the equivalent of planting 400,000 new trees.

Optimizing environmental performance in the chain

Our aim in the future is also to optimize environmental performance throughout the chain. In this context, we fund a range of research projects into new methods of processing used tyres. We also encourage innovations designed to recover raw materials and reduce CO2 emissions. This offers opportunities to optimize environmental performance throughout the chain. After all, we clearly want to close the car tyres circle!