Project Background

DEPOTEC is part of the LIFE programme whose objective is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing pilot or demonstration projects with European added value. The current phase of the programme LIFE+ has three components which include;

• LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity.

• LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance.

• LIFE+ Information and Communication.

DEPOTEC belongs to LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance component.

The Environment Policy & Governance component continues and extends the former LIFE Environment programme. It will co-finance innovative or pilot projects that contribute to the implementation of European environmental policy and the development of innovative policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments. It will also help monitor pressures (including the long-term monitoring of forests and environmental interactions) on our environment.
Disposal of EOL Tyres and tyre crumb has been banned from landfills.  


The rapid increase worldwide in the number of transport vehicles has been accompanied by a major generation of waste tyres.  In Europe some 3.2 million tonnes of waste tyres per year are generated and owing to the European Commissions Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) these tyres can no longer be sent to landfill since 2006. In addition the End of Life Directive (2000/53/EC) requires that 85% (95% by 2015) in weight of an end of life vehicle is reused or recycled.

Depolymerisation Plant  


The properties that make rubber tyres desirable as a consumer product, such as durability, heat resistance and traction, also make their disposal and reprocessing difficult. They are almost immune to biological degradation. When tyres are not properly managed and disposed of, they represent certain risks to public health and to the environment. Although the Landfill and End of Life Directives are having a positive impact on the management of end-of-life tyres (ELT), overreliance on rubber-derived products, particularly tyres, still continues.

Depolymerisation technology is not  new as over the last two decades numerous plants have been built at pilot and demonstration scale as a large number developers have recognized the potential in the tyre recycling market. While many of the companies failed to get past conceptual stage, a few have run pilot plants and even less have started commercial plants as shown above but most have failed. The reason that most companies  have cited for failure is the fact that they are not commercially viable with the depolymerisation of ELT not proving to be economical. DEPOTEC aims to evaluate the life cycle of depolymerisation of ELT and ascertain the reasons as to why it has not been economical to date and gather sufficient information so that best practice can be employed on a pilot plant.