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29th ETRA Conference on Tyre Recyling

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The 29th ETRA Conference titled «Circular Transition in Tyre Recycling», was held in Brussels  Wednesday through Friday 17 – 19 April.

The conference has reaffirmed its position as the premier event for tyre recycling and innovation. With 136 attendees from 38 countries registered for various sessions and activities, including an EU project meeting and workshop, the event demonstrated a significant level of interest and engagement.

Over the course of two days, attendees experienced a rich and busy schedule filled with insightful discussions and critical challenges. The event provided a platform to explore transition options and solutions in rubberized asphalt, building, and construction.

The Program was designed to stimulate discussion on where the tyre recycling sector is today and how stakeholders can move to the future.

The first day of the Conference had a busy schedule and many of RePlan partners were involved. Thursday 18 April 2024 started with the presentation “Green Deal, Circular Economy policy, use of recycled materials: Role of DG ENV” from Mattia Pellegrini, DG Environment. The presentation highlighted the process of quantifying ELTs in the EU, which is among the most crucial issues demanding review, revision and stability today in terms of planning for future industry development and investment. Evolving issues and challenges that will impact adequate tyre supplies in future were discussed – including how changing supply patterns could have a bearing on existing and future recycling markets.

The Panel 1 & 2 on Circular Transition in Tyre Recycling included presentation from Dr. Federica Ghelli titled “Tyre arsing and data analysis” from University of Turin, Italy. Dr. Federica Ghelli prepared a research that reveals numbers of Total Tons Tyre Arising in Europe and aspects of the EU Post Consumer Tyres (PCT) management. At the end, the PCTs management results were showed for France, Greece, Italy, and Spain and the destination of these materials. The presentation initiated a lively discussion with involvement of panel representatives. 

The next Panel 3, titled «What will happen with the infill ban? » moderated by Ettore Musacchi touched on pressing issues regarding the ban. Bruno Marabotto, who has a huge experience in the Sports Plant branch of the Torino Town Council, gave a presentation «Infill ban: Recycled SBR infill material: it’s not time to give up». His speech covered many tricky issues, such as why the ban was adopted, what are the real characteristics of the infill material and what will be the consequences if the ban for future generations. The Fact Sheet “Recycled SBR Infill Material for Artificial Turf” created by RePlan project was presented, so all people can familiarize themselves with the main facts about the material.

Joze Jensterle, Economist and Secretary General of International Association of Sport and Leisure Infrastructure Management, also took part in this panel, with the presentation “The role of Sports Facilities in the spreading the sport activities”. Are synthetic turf facilities important for education, recreation, sport and tourist industry infrastructure? Is Recycled Rubber Infill / granulates important key product for recycling industry? These and other important questions were raised, which turned into a fruitful discussing with all panel participants, Dr. Roberto Bono, Dr.Giulia Squillacioti from University of Turin, Italy, Santiago Llopis (AIMPLAS) and Ewan Scott (Tyre & Rubber Recycling).

Panel 5: Building and Constructions was moderated by Ir. Alessandro Fantilli, Associate Professor in the Department of Structural, Building and Geotechnical Engineering of Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Professor also participated as a speaker with the topic “More significant uses of Recycled Tyre Materials in Concrete”, highlighting problems and suggested technical solutions with the use of tyre recycled materials.

The second day of the Conference, 19 of April started from the Keynote speaker, Sander Vermeulen, Michelin, titled “Tyre industry’s challenge to use recycled material” and continued with the Panel 6: Materials and Products. Dr. Ettore Musacchi, ETRA president, introduced the topic “Mines of natural rubber: LIFE InReGEO”, which was focused on Off The Road issues and possible solutions.

Last but not least, the Conference was joined at the very last moment by a very topical Guest Speaker: Dr. Bernardita Diaz, CEO of the Start-up company T-Phite from Chile, who developed a new technology that received various significant awards. T-phite is a chemical technology that transforms of end of life tires waste from recycling technology like carbon black into new raw materials for the electromobility industry. T-Phite is not only replacing the anodic material but also can be used in the next generation of energy storage technology, like lithium-ion batteries, that are used in E-Vehicles, Laptops, or scooters, and also sodium batteries and supercapacitors in super charge.

The interactive Round Table discussion, led by Jean-Paul Bouysset and animated by Sander Vermeulen from Michelin, featured active contributions from numerous speakers and participants. Several urgent questions were raised, particularly concerning recyclability. The conference highlighted that innovative recyclable materials are key solutions. While the transition towards sustainability has begun, it is crucial to consider the recyclability of the final product. A mindset shift is essential for both companies and consumers, and collaboration is vital for systemic change.

Participants engaged in discussions about the balance of responsibility between producers and consumers, the timeline for new rubber products entering the market, and the potential impact of mobility-as-a-service on tyre demand. These conversations provided valuable insights into the future of the tyre recycling industry.

The conference was a resounding success, offering enriching discussions and valuable insights. Speakers and participants significantly contributed to two fruitful days dedicated to advancing tyre recycling and innovation.

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