End of Life Tyres

Which tyres are to be recovered ?

When tyres are taken off vehicles, they become part-worn tyres or end of life tyres.


The part-worn tyre is a tyre, which is reusable, as a second-hand purchase or re-usable after reprocessing (retreading). It can be reused as it is for its original purpose when a residual tread depth remains. In general it is not possible to specify a minimum tread depth, which would be valid for all types of tyres. Different minimum legal remaining tread depths are set in different countries. Within the EU it can be referred to the Council Directive 89/459/EEC relating to the tread depth of tyres of certain categories of motor vehicles and their trailers.

Otherwise it can be reprocessed under a procedure whereby new tread is vulcanised on-to the casing and it becomes a retreaded tyre.

The end of life tyre is a non-reusable tyre in its original form. It enters a waste management system based on product /material recycling, energy recovery or goes to landfill (2006 at the latest, excluding tyres used as engineering material and bicycle tyres and tyres with an outside diameter above 1400 mm): these tyres are to be recovered.

Every year about 3.2 million tonnes of used tyres (part worn + end of life tyres) are generated in EU27+NO+CH, of which 2.5 million tonnes are either recycled or recovered. This amounts to approximately 250 million units.