Shutdown of Ukrainian infant industry | Tire and rubber recycling

How does the Russian invasion affect tire recycling in Ukraine?

What’s next for Ukrainian recycling?

To be fair, it’s a pretty insignificant question to ask as we sit on the sidelines and watch Ukraine to be invaded by Russia.

The truth is, we don’t really know. In times of war, everyday life must still go on one way or another. Except that in Ukraine, daily life has essentially been suspended.

Tire recycling in Ukraine was not a priority before the conflict; they are famous only 10% recycled of the 180,000 to 200,000 tonnes of end-of-life tires they dispose of annually. According to German studies, the vast majority of all Ukrainian waste was, until very recently, sent to landfills. However, Nestle and Veolia were developing waste-to-energy plants in the country.

Tire and rubber recycling is aware of only a few projects in Ukraine – EcoTire, a start-up that worked on collecting tires and was trying to raise funds, around 700,000 euros to set up a recycling channel. They were registered in Germany for political reasons, but their operation was based in Ukraine.

EcoTyre intended to set up a project using microwave technology to recycle tires in a mobile factory. The company was talking to CEYES and MTB to take the next step in 2019.

mobius is a pyrolysis project that specializes in creating charcoal. The company presented to a past ETRA Conference and had a very youthful approach to the business. Unfortunately, perhaps, their factory was located in a refinery outside Kiev, which was almost certainly stormed by Russian forces.

TSK recycling in Kharkov reported shelling and strife in and around the city. It is not easy to verify the footage, but some of it is universally available and may be from other cities. It is clear, however, that recycling is not at the forefront of their concerns at the moment.

In September 2017, eco green provided equipment to German Polytan GmbH, which operates Boryspril outside Kyiv.

A fifth project, the VSK recycling groupwas being investigated after complaints from local residents, but we never found out the outcome of the complaints.

In issue 2-2021 of Tire and rubber recycling – our correspondent Vladimir Vorotnikov, originally from Kharkov, wrote about recycling in Ukraine. He reported it; “A new tire recycling plant is about to be operational in the city of Mukachevo, the regional government said in a statement posted on its website. The plant is designed to grind used tires into rubber crumb, which is expected to be used in the construction of children’s playgrounds across the country…

“… In June 2020, a new Waste Management Bill adopted the first reading in the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament. Lawmakers planned to introduce producer responsibility for tire recycling, similar to that in the European Union. However, the bill never reached second reading, and now its future remains unclear.

The conflict will have brought the nascent Ukrainian tire recycling industry to a sudden stop.

The impact of the war in Russia will not be as physically damaging, as there is no conflict in the country. However, the chaotic waste management in the country will not be improved by the anticipated hyperinflation and sanctions – the latter being a double-edged sword if Russia cannot get the natural rubber supplies necessary for the manufacture of truck tires. He can therefore resort to a highest level of rubber recovery to supply raw materials to the tire industry, and as in past conflicts, retreading will come to the fore – although the recycling sector in Russia is not really suitable for large-scale recovery because it has no markets. For the most part, its retreading industry is antiquated or limited to a handful of modern plants.