Development of a technology for new polymeric compositions with recycled tires rubber & new products designing

The project will develop new material systems made of rubber powders from used tires that go in compliance with the new eu-regulations concerning the pah-limits. New mixing technologies are urgent needed for designing high quality materials on the basis of polyurethane and thermoplastics.

Based on current surveys the tire input volume in the year 2012 in the EU, Norway (NO), Switzerland (CH) and in Turkey (TR) in total was 2.8 million tons. In 2012 about 46 percent of old tires from EU, NO, CH, TR were energetically recycled, 43 percent were recycled materially. Regarding the recycling of used tires legislation is promoting more material recycling, whereas sales opportunities are drastically reduced. As we will see later, there is an increasingly urgent need for action and research in Germany and Europe regarding the exploitation strategy for old tires. The legal situation in case of recycling of old tires is as follows: Landfilling of used tires in the EU is prohibited since 2006. The EU directive on waste (AbfRRL) as well as the German Law on Life-Cycle Management (D, KrWG) put recycling (work-material utilization) over the energetic recycling in their priorities in the handling of waste. In consideration of ecological, health as well as technical aspects a deviation from this hierarchy is possible, if it can be justified. The European Commission instigated infringement proceedings (2014/2003) criticizing this clause for an inadequate implementation of the predefined hierarchy in waste management (AbfRRL). The German government decided to cancel this clause in October 2016 and has worked out a new bill (printed matter 18/10026). According to current law it must be concluded that recycling of used tires must be conducted as work-material utilization in the future. Therefore new recycling concepts are necessary on how to proceed with tires that used to be recycled purely energetically (285,000 tons per year in 2011). As stated in the Commission Regulation 1272/2013 of December 27th 2015, products containing PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are banned, if they contain more than 1 mg/kg of one of eight declared PAH and if they come into direct as well as prolonged or short-term repetitive contact with the human skin or the oral cavity under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use. The regulation itself refers to its insufficient database and the need of scientific investigation: “The Commission should review the existing limit values adopted in this restriction in particular in the light of new scientific information, including information on the migration of PAHs from plastic and rubber materials of the articles covered, as well as on alternative raw materials. The availability and reliability of testing methods should also be considered in this review of new scientific information.” Extender oils for tires containing more than1 mg/kg BaP or more than a total of 10 mg / kg from a list of 8 PAHs (EC-Regulation No. 1907/2006) have been banned since 2010. Regardless of the lack of legal regulation, experts promote an age limit for tires of eight years. Therefore, tires produced before 2010 are still being recycled and have an unregulated portion of PAH-containing extender oils. Furthermore, carbon blacks are used as fillers in high proportions for tire production, which also contain PAHs and whose PAH content is currently not restricted at EU level. It should be noted that old tires contain PAH in the form of extender oils and carbon blacks and will continue to be present in the future. Because of a lack of information about the exact composition of the material, as well as the multitude of different manufacturers and products, an estimation of the consequences of the current legal development is hardly possible. The focusing solely on the substance content of PAH and not on their actual migration to the product surface is a particularly critical part of the mentioned regulations on PAH content. The areas affected by the restrictions on PAH content largely correspond to the main sales markets for the recyclers of used tires. Here lies the imminent danger that a big part of the current application opportunities for used tires will break off through these inadequate regulations. The need for action is urgent, since such a drop in sales will inevitably lead to the collapse of large parts of the tire recycling industry. In order to be able to maintain and further expand sales of tire recyclables in the current situation, new fields of application must be developed, that are not subject to PAH regulations and novel material systems and formulas have to be found, that adhere to the PAH limits and are still economically competitive. The following key activities, for the planned project can be derived:1. Investigations on the PAH content of used tires as well as health risks of used tire recyclates arising under realistic condition 2. Development of new recycling concepts to expand sales opportunities for used tire recyclates 3. Development of new material systems (including recipes, characteristic processing behavior and processing regulations) based on polyurethane and thermoplastics with high quality 4. Production of new reference products with high quality mechanical properties
Project ID: 
13 042
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
600 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 
Chemicals and Materials

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.