EcoTyre is a consortium dealing with the collection and management of end-of-life tyres (ELTs) from the Italian market.
Today, EcoTyre counts more than 400 members (it is the largest Italian Consortium in terms of number of members), all of them being well-established tyre/car manufacturers and importers in the industry.
With 60 technical interventions (30 of which were conducted in Piedmont, headquarter of the Consortium) over the past two years EcoTyre has collected one million of end-of-life tyres (ELTs), thus being able to transform 8000 tons of waste into usable resources.
Seabeds, riverbanks, agricultural fields and industrial buildings are just some of the places where EcoTyre has carried out Zero ELTs Project with the aim of collecting and recycling abandoned end-of-life tyres (ELTs), thus turning waste into a resource.
The wider objective of Zero ELTs Project is to identify and map the deposits of abandoned end-of-life tyres (ELTs) (long term waste stock). Such stocks are often quite large and difficult for the government to manage, due to the high costs of tyre collection and disposal operations.
Decree no. 82 of April 11, 2011 regulates ELT management in Italy. Its primary objective is to optimize recovery, prevent waste and protect the environment.
Under the decree, based on the principle of "producer’s responsibility", ELTs are to be managed by their manufacturers and importers, grouped in consortia as EcoTyre, whose aim is to collect and manage, every year, at least as many ELTs as the new tyres put on the market.
However, there remains the problem of end-of-life tyres (ELTs), which are also called “long term waste stock”, as being produced before the entry into force of the Decree. These stocks are often accumulated in very large stocking areas. The law requires that the consortia devote a part of their surplus from ordinary activities for the disposal of long term waste stocks. In order to be able to carry out such operation, however, it is necessary to trace the current owners of the stock. In many cases, long term waste stocks derive from bad management of end-of-life tyres (ELTs). Before the Decree came into force, some companies were collecting and accumulating ELTs but then they went out of business, leaving the cost of managing these wastes to the community. Nowadays, thanks to the database created within Zero ELTs Project, it will be easier to take action and permanently remove the deposits of ELTs, as well as to send the waste to the proper treatment and recycling.
“Since 2011 – explains Enrico Ambrogio, President of EcoTyre – our Consortium has been removing ELTs from more than 8,000 tyre shops free of charge, on behalf of EcoTyre members, to ensure that for every new tyre put on the market an old one is properly disposed of. We know, however, that in the past many ELTs were abandoned, so we decided to act on two fronts: on one side, acting directly on some of these deposits to allow ELTs recycling, on the other, combining collection activities with awareness-raising initiatives on the correct handling of these products, which can consequently become a resource.
That’s why two years ago in cooperation with local authorities and associations, Zero ELTs Project was born with the aim of collecting abandoned end-of-life tyres (ELTs) and explaining that the proper way to dispose the tyres is to leave them at the tyre shop, only in this way you can be sure on their correct recovery. Besides, thanks to the website www.pfuzero.ecotyre.it citizens can report abandoned deposits and contribute to a national mapping of them.
ELTs Zero Project is endorsed by the Ministry of the Environment and it has also started collaboration with environmental associations. The first initiative was Clean Up the World in collaboration with Legambiente (the most widespread environmental organization in Italy), which, each year, involves volunteers in dozens of extraordinary ELTs collections throughout the national territory. Then a collaboration with Marevivo Association followed, from which Zero ELTs Project was born in the smaller islands. The project operation was carried out with the help of divers in 15 smaller islands, so that in two years all the ELTs were removed from the depths of almost all small ports of Italy.
Also, an important work was done on abandoned industrial buildings full of ELTs; for example, from Settimo Torinese 500,000 ELTs were taken away and 300,000 ELTs from Fiorenzuola d'Arda, ranging from small scooter tyres to huge bulldozer and tractor tyres".
Awareness-raising activities, accompanying ELTs Zero Project, allow to spread knowledge of proper ELTs recovery among citizens and operators, thus reducing the risk of tyres abandonment in the environment.