London – A proposal by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) to ban the use of tire-derived rubber infill in sports surfaces has been deemed “incomprehensible and counter-intuitive” by the UK’s Tyre Recovery Association (TRA).
The ECHA is pushing for a complete ban on the reuse of materials containing ‘intentionally added’ microplastics such as recycled rubber from end-of-life tires (ELTs) as of 2028.
Commenting on the decision, which was announced early last month, TRA secretary general, Peter Taylor, said the proposal was “not only disproportionate but flies in the face of reason.”
According to Taylor, the proposed ban could set back tire recycling efforts “by a generation,” if implemented.
“Rubber infill is not only largely site-contained but can also be further recycled,” he said in a 26 June statement.
In addition, the material can be used in a range of other products for the automotive industry and belting, therefore minimising the wider use of primary resources.
“This ECHA proposal if implemented is contrary to the ideals and objectives of the circular economy as well as undermining the values of the waste hierarchy,” Taylor added.
The ban, he said, will hinder the development of innovative uses for recycled rubber and will leave incineration as one of the few available disposal options for post-consumer tires.
“As such it is economically and environmentally illiterate and we must, as an industry, unite to fight it,” he concluded.