Waste Tyre Statistics for Ireland

EPA waste data release, 23 Nov. 2022. Latest reference year 2020.

Waste tyres pose a threat to the atmosphere, to land, soil, water, plants and animals if they are not managed properly. Where they are dumped in our environment, they have a significant negative visual impact on our landscape.

Tyres become waste when worn-out tyres on a vehicle are replaced; and, unless reused, they become waste when the vehicle they are on is transferred to an authorised treatment facility. Our section on end-of-life vehicles provides more information on end-of-life vehicles arising in Ireland, and reuse, recycling and other recovery of this waste. 

The EPA data on waste tyres draw on multiple sources including EPA surveys, data from the National Waste Collection Permit Office, data on exports from the National Transfrontier Shipments Office, and information from the tyres producer compliance scheme Circol ELT. It should be noted that these figures exclude the large quantities of historic waste tyres that remain outside the waste management network and the waste tyres that did not enter the waste management network in 2020.

There are no statutory recycling or recovery targets set down in the Tyres Regulations. However, Circol ELT’s Ministerial approval obligates the compliance scheme to meet minimum targets for the type of tyres it covers. By the end of 2019, and each subsequent year, it must achieve

  • A recovery rate of 70% of all tyres collected, and 
  • A recycling rate of 30% of all tyres collected.

Key trends

  • A total of 40,393[1] tonnes of waste tyres were collected and treated in Ireland in 2020,[2] This represents a decrease of 13% on the 46,424 tonnes managed1 in 2019.  The trend is likely attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic. The national movement restrictions on householders and business and shift to remote working led to less vehicle usage during the year as reported by the CSO[3].   
  • Figure 1 shows that, in 2020, the majority (68 per cent) of waste tyres that entered the waste management network in Ireland were recycled (either in Ireland or abroad); down from 88 per cent in 2019.  Less tyres were recycled in Ireland or abroad due to an increased demand abroad for tyres from energy recovery operators (in particular cement kilns) as an alternative to coal as tyres have a similar calorific value.
  • There was a decrease in the tonnage of waste tyres crumbed for recycling in Ireland, down from 12,061 tonnes (26 per cent) in 2019, to 5,825 tonnes (14 per cent) in 2020 due to less demand for tyre crumb due to Covid-19.  The cost of crumbing in Ireland is reported to be higher compared with crumbing abroad.
  • A large majority (81 per cent) of waste tyres were exported for final treatment abroad in 2020 (mainly to Asian countries).
  • Of the waste tyres exported in 2020, the majority were recycled (65 per cent), 33.5 per cent went for energy recovery and approximately 1.5 per cent were prepared for reuse.
  • The share of waste tyres used for energy recovery increased significantly from 10 per cent (4,761 tonnes) in 2019 to 25 per cent (10,940 tonnes) in 2020. A high percentage of a waste tyre can be recycled, but there is a small portion that is non-recyclable. This non-recyclable material arising from the tyre treatment process is typically forwarded to waste facilities for energy recovery.

Figure 2 shows how waste tyres moved through the waste treatment network in Ireland in 2020. Most waste tyres are collected by authorised waste collectors and brought to a waste facility; and, unless they are used as ballast, they are either baled or pre-treated before the final treatment step.

 The most common treatment route in 2020 was baling of waste tyres at Irish waste facilities followed by export and final treatment abroad. This accounted for 46 per cent of the waste tyres managed in 2020. The second most common treatment route was crumbing of waste tyres in Ireland followed by recycling in Ireland and abroad. This accounted for 28 per cent of waste tyres managed in 2020.

 These data indicate that most waste tyres that enter the waste management network in Ireland end up being recycled either in Ireland or abroad (27,626 tonnes or 68 per cent in 2020). Recycled tyres are typically used in equestrian arenas, sports pitches, rubber mat products, flower beds and various other products based on demand.


  • Table 1. Waste tyres final treatment activities, 2020

    Open in Excel: Tyres Table 1 2020 (XLS 12KB)

    Open in CSV : Tyres Table 1 2020 (CSV 1KB)

  Figure 2. Waste tyre management in Ireland 2020.

Figure 2 displays the tonnages of waste tyres managed in Ireland and managed abroad in 2020.

*This figure excludes tyres that were exported as a part of depolluted End-of-life vehicles. 

Tyre producer compliance scheme

To ensure that waste tyres are handled in an environmentally sound manner, a producer compliance scheme for tyres and waste tyres, operated by Circol ELT (previously Repak ELT), was introduced in October 2017, underpinned by the Tyres and Waste Tyres Regulations 2017. 2018 is the first full calendar year that Circol ELT was in operation. The scheme currently only includes car and motorcycle tyres and does  not account for truck, agricultural or construction tyres (note: the EPA data presented encompasses data on all types of waste tyres managed in [4]2020). The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy includes a commitment that the tyres producer compliance scheme will be extended to all categories of tyres provided for by the Tyres Regulations  (passenger car, van, 4x4, truck, bus, agricultural and motorcycle tyres).





[1] This figure excludes tyres that were exported as a part of depolluted End-of-life vehicles.

[2] This tonnage excludes an estimated 2,000 tonnes of waste tyres that went into storage in 2020.

[3 https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/br/b-tb/transportbulletin01march2020to02january2021/

[4] Waste management means the collection, transport, recovery and disposal of waste, including the supervision of such operations and the after-care of disposal sites, and including actions taken as a dealer or broker. (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52008AG0004&from=EN)