Michelin is to start construction of its first tyre recycling plant in collaboration with Enviro, a Swedish company which has developed technology to recover carbon black, oil, steel and gas from end-of- life tyres.

Based in Chile’s Antofagasta region, the plant will be able to recycle 30,000 tons of earthmover tyres a year.

Work will begin in 2021, with production scheduled to start in 2023. More than US$30m will be invested in building Michelin’s first new-generation end-of-life tyre processing plant.

Scrap tyres will be collected directly from customer premises, then transported to the plant to be cut up and recycled.

Enviro’s technology, which produces new, reusable materials such as carbon black, pyrolysis oil, gas and steel, will enable everything in an end-of-life tyre to be recovered for reuse.

Current plans call for 90% of the recovered materials to be reused in a variety of rubber-based products, such as tyres, conveyor belts and anti-vibration products. The remaining 10% will be reused directly by the plant to generate its own-use heat and power.

This initial recycling plant will enable Michelin to offer a comprehensive recycling solution, from collecting end-of-life tyres to reusing the recovered raw materials in the manufacture of new products.

“Thanks to this joint venture with Enviro, we are very proud to announce the construction of the Michelin Group’s first recycling plant,” said Sander Vermeulen, vice president, Marketing & Business Development, Strategy and New Business for the High-Tech Materials business line.

“This is a major milestone that will enable us to offer customers a new-generation recycling solution, while developing new business for the Group. We are currently in talks with several Chilean mining customers to sign long-term contracts.

“By scaling up Enviro’s technology, we are offering them a solution that will support their environmental objectives and enables the development of a circular economy.”

The future tyre recycling plant is aligned with the Group’s commitment to incorporating an increasing amount of sustainable materials in its tyres, as illustrated by the Vision Concept.

The partnership with Enviro follows on from other initiatives and partnerships in the area of recycling and sustainable materials. The underlying goal in partnerships and initiatives in which Michelin is participating, is to create and develop recycling systems for end-of-life tyres, but also for plastic waste.