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Used Tyres in Europe

Management of Used Tyres in Europe

As a result of European Directive 1999/31/EC dated 26 April 1999, it is against the law to dispose of used tyres in landfills. The Directive obliges Member States to focus on responsible and environment-friendly recovery methods. 

There are no specific European regulations for recovering used tyres. Each Member State is free to choose its own management system. There are thus 3 types of management system in Europe :

    - the producer responsibility system (used particularly in Portugal),

    - the tax system,

    - the free market system.


Producer responsibility

In this system, the State defines the regulatory framework for recovering end-of-life tyres and obliges the manufacturers of new tyres to take responsibility for collecting, recovering and recycling them. In each country that has opted for this system, manufacturers have thus created a sector of activity specialising in recovering used tyres, and this sector is represented by one or more eco-organisations. At present, this system is the most efficient means of attaining the objective of 100% recovery of all used tyres recycled. Depending on the country, an eco-contribution can or must be clearly quantified and identified. In Portugal, this contribution must be visible in the invoice when you are buying a new tyre.

The tax system

In this system, the State sets the amount of a tax that is used to finance the recovery of end-of-life tyres. This tax is levied on tyre manufacturers, and is generally passed on to the customer. The State is thus responsible for processing the tyres and remunerates the operators in the recovery chain. 

The free market

In this system, a legal framework sets the objectives to be met but does not designate those responsible. All the operators in the chain of collection and recovery of used tyres are thus in competition with one another. They are also free to cooperate with each other to promote recovery practices at optimal cost.

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