Waste tyre recycling investment at UK port

A Scandinavian recycling startup is opening its first waste tyre recycling plant at a UK port.

Wastefront AS is opening its plant at the Port of Sunderland, where it will use new and existing certified technology to convert locally-sourced end-of-life tyres (ELTs) into useful commodities, including liquid hydrocarbons and carbon black, which can then be reutilised in processes such as alternative fuel or ground rubber manufacturing.

Wastefront’s co-founder and director, Christian A. Hvamstad, an alumnus of the University of Sunderland, said: “The construction of our first ever plant at Port of Sunderland marks a huge step in Wastefront’s efforts to combat the global issue of ELT waste.

“Our ambition is to create a new circular economy for dealing with waste issues, and a crucial element of sustainable waste handling is to be able to do so locally. Wastefront’s first plant in Sunderland will represent a valuable contribution to a cleaner future by dealing with a specific waste problem, where end-of-life tyres no longer end up in landfills in overseas countries, but instead are converted into useful commodities that can be used within the region.

“The UK is a global centre of industry which we want to be a part of, while Sunderland is the ideal location for our first plant due to geographical location, access to feedstock, strong local support and Sunderland’s history as an industrial city.”

Part of wider investment

The construction of the plant is expected to begin in early 2021.

Wastefront recently received funding from the Norwegian state-owned company and national development bank, Innovation Norway and it is supported by government agency, The Research Council of Norway (Skattefunn).

Port of Sunderland is currently undergoing a major transformation bolstered by an £8.2 million investment, after areas of its estate were granted Enterprise Zone (EZ) status in 2017 – with a key aim of attracting new investment – and Wastefront is the latest in a string of businesses to invest in the North Sea hub.

The port is owned by Sunderland City Council who have led the charge with investment, with land and equipment acquisitions that have spurred on the development of the estate, as well as significant improvements to infrastructure to pave the way for investment.

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