Tyre Innovator Enso is First Manufacturer to Commit to Recycled Raw Materials from Wastefront’s UK Tyre-Recycling Plant

Wastefront AS, the Norwegian waste tyre recycling company, has announced a strategic partnership with innovative EV tyre company ENSO, which will see ENSO incorporate Wastefront’s recycled carbon black (rCB) in its tyres from 2024.

Backed by energy giant Vitol, Wastefront, which secured planning permission in January 2022 to build a £100 million tyre recycling plant at The Port of Sunderland, will also provide UK-based ENSO with a recycling outlet for its used tyres, as part of its Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

Wastefront CEO, Vianney Vales, said: “This partnership is a great example of how we are closing the loop of circularity. No longer do we have the luxury of making a product and forgetting about it the moment it leaves the factory. To be considered ethical, businesses must be accountable to future generations with respect to the products they make today, and how we dispose of them when they reach the end of their useful lives.

“This is why we are teaming up with ENSO, a tyre maker of the future, and a company which understands and endorses the dual needs of technological innovation in tyre design, and the overwhelming need to recycle and reuse the materials they are made from.”

ENSO CEO, Gunnlaugur Eriendsson adds: “The environmental impact of tyres is significant, particularly when it comes to EVs, yet to date this problem has been largely overlooked. The word ‘ENSO’ in Japanese means a hand-drawn circle that symbolises strength, elegance, and the circularity of nature. ENSO’s mission is to work in harmony with nature to make better EV tyres, delivering more range and less tyre pollution, based on the circular economy. Our partnership with Wastefront is an important further step towards this mission, and a perfect example of a circular approach to recycling end-of-life EV tyres, and reusing their recovered carbon black in new EV tyres.”

The two companies have also set up a technical collaboration between their respective R&D teams to develop more sustainable solutions for EV tyre manufacturing, which will focus on the following priorities:

  • Accelerating better ways to use recovered carbon black (rCB), as a substitute for virgin carbon black from fossil-fuels.
  • Developing and utilising recovered carbon black’s properties, to increase EV tyre performance.
  • Increasing the percentage of recycled materials in tyres, paving the way for new environmental guidelines.
  • Reducing the content of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) in tyres.

End-of-life tyres are a significant and major cause of pollution, yet this is grossly underreported as an issue. Wastefront’s flagship plant in Sunderland, with a recycling capacity of 80,000 metric tonnes per annum, is part of the company’s plan to build a global green platform to recycle part of the 31 million metric tonnes of end-of-life tyres produced annually across the planet, into high value products.

In January 2022 Wastefront announced Technip Energies as its EPC construction partner. Technip is now consolidating the engineering design before embarking on the construction phase in Q2 of this year, with the plant’s start-up expected to be in Q1 of 2024.

ENSO makes better tyres for EVs, to extend range and reduce tyre pollution. ENSO is based in London and backed by more than 1,200 British investors, the largest being the UK Government via the UK Future Fund,

ENSO is working with leading EV carmakers, as well as large EV fleets, including a partnership with the Mayor of London, Transport for London, DPD and Royal Mail, to test its range-extending, low-emission tyres on last-mile EV delivery fleets. ENSO will soon launch its London Hub, equipping its range-extending EV tyres on the iconic LEVC London electric taxi, before rolling-out towards EV fleets (B2B) and individual EV owners (B2C).

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