Earlier this year, more than 125 delegates and guests from 31 countries within and outside of the EU shared in the diverse activities at the 2018 ETRA Conference ‘25 years of Tyre Recycling Progress: Focus on the Future’ at the NH Collection Hotel, Grand Sablon, Brussels.
The three-day programme celebrated the achievements of diverse interests within the industry including government bodies, material recyclers and industrial users. The event included a day of pre-conference sessions on ASTM activities; EU Research, Development and Investment; H2020 and Exploitation, ending with a jazz-filled gala evening.
The keynote address,‘The EU Strategy Towards a Circular Economy’, was presented by Daniel Calleja-Crespo, Director General of DG Environment. His prior roles as Director General of the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and, as Special Envoy for SMEs under DG Enterprise and Industry, offered unique insights into the issues confronting tyre recycling and related industries, creating the general framework for the Plenary Sessions and discussions.
The Plenaries began with discussions of two long-term sector concerns: the accurate quantification of data on arisings and existing valorisation routes (Panel 1); and the status and future of Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) materials for sports venues (Panel 2). Simon Hodson (Astutus Research, UK) illustrated the tyre-data flows, highlighting where they were under-or-over reported, the potential impacts of these discrepancies and how they could be avoided in future. He identified areas where recycled materials could be readily substituted for virgin resources.
Some of the most prominent contributors to the ongoing discussions on the current SBR issue voiced their concerns and suggested solution alternatives. Nicolas Evans (FIFA), Julia Verhoeven (RIVM), Ir. Pascal Haxaire (Labosport), Enrique Garcia-John (DG Grow), Dennis Andersen (Re-match), Dr. Roberto Bono (Human Impact Research, Italy), and Ir. Wieslaw Wasniowski (Rubber Compounding, Poland), exchanged views and discussed potential solutions, inviting the audience to join in.
Dr. Jaroslav Kracun (DG Grow), commented that it is evident that sizeable, diverse, long-term markets are necessary for the circular economy to succeed and that tyre recycling could become a major contributor. He noted that Public Authorities are among the largest European consumers and that the new rules of the circular economy could help to develop new markets. His presentation described some of the opportunities available under the revised Green Public Procurement (GPP) package and explained how the new rules could help to introduce innovative materials, products and technologies to these vast audiences.GPP is defined in Communication (COM (2008 400) “Public procurement for a better environment” as “a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured”. Green purchasing is also about influencing the market. By promoting and using GPP, public authorities can provide the industry with real incentives for developing green technologies and products. In some sectors, public purchasers command a large share of the market (e.g. public transport and construction.) GPP allows public authorities to achieve environmental targets. Four significant markets were identified for further discussion, i.e., pyrolysis and innovative materials; building and construction; road networks and Mobility, which brings them all together under GPP.
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