The European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, an agency of the EU has established a time table of the steps they are taking, which is driven by health concerns from the use of crumb rubber on sporting fields or children’s playgrounds, as well as emissions from using the material as furnace fuel. It mainly investigates the environmental impact from the use of crumb rubber granules with most of the material coming from end-of-life recycled tyres. They have particularly highlighted their concern at the presence of the carcinogenic PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons).

Trevor Bayley, the Chief Operating Officer of Green Distillation Technologies, said that they welcomed the investigation, but concede that, without knowing all the technical requirements, the cost of making reductions in PAH’s would appear to make the cost of crumb rubber prohibitive. Green Distillation is an Australian start-up with world-first tyre recycling technology. It claims to have the only tyre recycling process in the world that does not create noxious emissions and the oil, carbon and the steel tyre skeleton that we create are valuable and highly useful.

“We also hope that the investigation encompasses the environmental effects of heavy rain on the passage of crumb rubber into stormwater and then into rivers and waterways. Currently, we are operating a tyre recycling processing plant in Warren, Western New South Wales and are already scaling up those operations and we are at the capital raising stage for another in Toowoomba, Queensland, after having received all the necessary approvals, but failed in our bid for a Queensland Government recycling grant for half the cost. Today, I feel vindicated by the actions of the EU as I have been saying for years that crumbing rubber into small pieces is not effective tyre recycling as it only reshapes the old tyre, whereas we transform it into new useful products. The issue is vulcanisation of the rubber as it produces a substance that will last for more than 500 years, which is the same length of time a piece of crumb rubber will last,” Trevor Bayley said.