Wastefront Secures Key Permit, Pioneering Tyre Recycling in the UK

Wastefront has secured an essential environmental permit for its innovative tyre recycling plant at the Port of Sunderland. This crucial approval signals a green light for the project, positioning Wastefront to address the formidable challenge of recycling an estimated 31 million metric tonnes of end-of-life tyres every year.

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Wastefront | In January 2022 Wastefront AS, backed by energy giant Vitol, was given permission to press ahead with plans to construct the ‘UK’s greenest tyre recycling plant’ at Port of Sunderland.
Published on
September 5, 2023

Tackling the Tyre Conundrum

The environmental footprint of discarded tyres is a pressing global concern. With their durability, tyres often outlive their purpose and end up cluttering landfills, proving detrimental to our ecosystem. The Port of Sunderland facility, scheduled to be fully operational by 2026, has set an ambitious target: to process a staggering 77,000 tonnes of these tyres annually.

But what does this process entail? Instead of the conventional landfill approach, Wastefront's facility will store tyres as compact bales. These will be transferred and shredded, with metallic components like steel wire being efficiently separated.

Revolutionary Pyrolysis Process

The real magic happens in the plant's state-of-the-art pyrolysis lines. Here, tyre chips undergo a transformation, breaking down into hydrocarbon vapour and a solid substance, char. This char, comprising components like carbon black and inorganic fillers, undergoes further processing, eventually yielding a form of carbon black, a valuable resource in various industries.

Wastefront's process is both efficient and environmentally conscious. Using a mix of exhaust gases, reactors are powered with minimal reliance on natural gas, emphasizing the company's commitment to green operations.

Stakeholder Enthusiasm

The significance of this permit isn't lost on industry stakeholders. Wastefront's CEO, Vianney Vales, underlined the project's timeliness and urgency: "Wastefront’s work is timely and urgent; our Blueprint will solve the disposal of an estimated 31 million metric tonnes of End-of-Life-Tyres annually, which is currently a concerningly dense source of both emissions and waste. Our Blueprint will reduce emissions and bring circularity to heavy industry, at a scale not seen before."

Adding to this sentiment, Matthew Hunt, Director at Port of Sunderland, lauded the facility as "a critical piece of UK infrastructure," projecting it will bolster local employment and fortify the region's stature in the circular economy.

Looking Ahead

With a green light now flashing, Wastefront stands poised to revolutionize tyre recycling, merging sustainability with innovation. As discarded tyres get a new lease on life, the environment and economy both look set to benefit from this pioneering venture.

For those interested in diving deeper into the details of the permit and the project's intricacies, the comprehensive environmental permit report is accessible through the official government portal: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sr1-2nr-wastefront-sunderland-limited-environmental-permit-issued-eprnp3900mpa001

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