NEC Hosts Much Improved RWM

RWM

The UK’s RWM waste management event is again worth getting involved with. Under the management of the Prysm Group, RWM has seen a transformation. Empty aisles were full of visitors, and the many theatres spread around the halls were often full to capacity as visitors were updated on developments and issues, such as how EPR works in much of Europe.

Tyre & Rubber Recycling at the RWM Show

Tyre and Rubber Recycling’s stand was often busy fielding enquiries about tyre recycling; lots of questions about pyrolysis and more than a few people asking about the markets for recycled rubber in the UK.

There was a contrary message from some recyclers who told TRR that they had a feedstock supply issue, but at the same time they were involved in exporting to balance the books.

Speaking to exhibitors, there was a mixed response to the tyre recycling sector. Some, like Finnish giant BMH, simply no longer want to have anything to do with tyre recycling. SID from Switzerland were not interested in processing tyres either.

So, Eldan essentially had the tyre shredding sector to themselves.

There were of course baling companies at the show, keen to exploit the need to bale waste for transportation, and in particular for the export market. CK International had taken a large stand near the entrance and made a good impression. Erstwhile regulars, Gradeall had been disappointed by past shows, Alan Shaw having told me that they made more progress in the given time by going and visiting potential clients.  Perhaps they will reconsider under the new management.

It was interesting to hear from pyrolysis people, mostly seeking investment, and how they were often still talking about Carbon Black as an output.  One potential investor asked the question of Tyre and Rubber Recycling, “Is the pyrolysis process all it is claimed to be? Is the Carbon Black really marketable?” We explained that the outputs depended on several factors – feedstock, temperature, application of heat, atmosphere, duration of the process, batch or continuous; that the carbon product would, with tyres as a feedstock,  include all the additives put into the tyre at the point of manufacture, that it was not Carbon Black as such, but a recovered Black that would have different characteristics and properties. This is a message that still needs to be taken to investors. We need pyrolysis plants that do what they say. Holding back on the reality is not going to help investment.

There were representations at the show from the Plastics Recycling Association, Glass Recycling Association, Wood Recyclers Association and many other industry agencies. The tyre industry was notable by its absence. A single market sector that accounts for around 8% of total waste arisings was not represented in any real form at the only waste management show in the UK. How can 8% of an industry be absent from the largest trade event in the sector?

We are missing a trick here at promoting tyre issues. We are all aware that the huge majority of the population don’t care about tyres, except when they have to buy a new one; but we do nothing to promote tyre recycling outside the tyre industry.  Surely the tyre recycling sector needs to take a leaf out of the books of the Italian EPR agencies, or the Spanish by running publicity aimed at a wider audience, appearances at national events, green sponsorship, environmental activities, highlighting positive projects.

It is early days, but Tyre and Rubber Recycling hopes to try and encourage a better involvement at the event. Let’s work with the RWM and try to start building the UK tyre recycling presence in the market and in the public eye.

The next RWM event will take place on the 16th and 17th September 2020 at the NEC, Birmingham.

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