Eesti Energia is going to solve Estonia’s problem with waste tyres together with Ragn-SellsChemical industry

Eesti Energia and Ragn-Sells have launched a cooperation that allows the energy company to reprocess waste tyres generated in Estonia into new raw materials in its plants.

  • The recycling of waste tyres at Enefit’s plants will help to solve important environmental problems.
  • Enefit's plants allow to reprocess all waste tyres generated in the Baltic countries into new products.
  • The pyrolysis of tyres in Enefit’s plants has a 10 times smaller CO2 footprint than burning them.
  • The recycling of waste tyres is an important step on Eesti Energia's path to a carbon-neutral chemical industry based on a circular economy.

Eesti Energia is gradually moving from the production of liquid fuels to a carbon-neutral chemical industry based on a circular economy. An important part of the concept is the recycling of waste at Enefit’s pyrolysis plants, originating from other sectors and otherwise difficult to recycle.


According to Margus Vals, Member of the Management Board of Eesti Energia, the recycling of waste tyres by pyrolysis has a CO2 footprint more than 10 times lower than their incineration for energy production, not to mention landfilling that poses the risk of fire and soil contamination.

“Recycling of waste tyres is an important step on Eesti Energia's journey towards a more carbon-neutral chemical industry based on a circular economy, because we are turning waste from other sectors into useful products instead of using oil shale,” Vals said. “In the next few years, we will achieve the industrial capacity to process composite and low-quality plastic packaging that cannot be recycled in any other way. At the same time, we are working to further process the products currently marketed as liquid fuels into raw materials for the plastics industry. This creates a closed circle where waste entering our plant becomes a new product in the same sector without pumping any additional barrels of oil.”

Approximately 15,000 tons of waste tyres that could be processed are generated every year in Estonia. Scrap metal is first removed from the tyres and sent into circulation as material, the remaining part is then made into tyre chips and sent to pyrolysis. The recycling of Estonian waste tyres at Enefit’s plants will start in the first quarter of 2024 at the latest. The plants have the capacity to recycle all waste tyres generated in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, totalling nearly 55,000 thousand tons per year.

According to Kai Realo, Chairman of the Management Board of Ragn-Sells, the collection and handling system for waste tyres has not had a solution in Estonia for a long time. “Two years ago, Ragn-Sells in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment cleaned Raadi of an enormous amount of old tyres that had simply been taken into nature. Even today, it is quite unclear what happens to the used tyres generated in Estonia. We will be able to create a transparent handling solution with Eesti Energia,” Realo said. “For the owner of Ragn-Sells, Eesti Energia's ambition to add further value to the waste oil produced by pyrolysis into chemical products within a couple of years also became decisive when investing in the cooperation project. It is crucial for Ragn-Sells that our solutions support the circular economy.”

Recycling tyres at Enefit's plants will prevent hundreds of thousands of tons of waste tyres from being incinerated or landfilled in the future, and will help reduce the environmental impact of the pyrolysis process. Shredding tyres for recycling in pyrolysis plants will allow the metal used in them to be recycled as well.

“We are already consulting with international chemical companies who have expressed great interest in our product as a chemical recycled according to the principles of a circular economy,” Vals added. “The advantage of our technology is that it allows us to recycle various plastics, waste tyres and oil shale at the same time, whereas in the long run, the share of waste in the process will increase and oil shale will decrease. Eesti Energia’s Enefit plants provide a solution to specific environmental problems not only for Estonia but for the entire Baltic Sea region.”

Electricity production from oil shale will end in 2030 at the latest and the production of liquid fuels in 2040. The transition to a carbon-neutral circular economy-based chemical industry will enable to maintain well-paid jobs in Ida-Virumaa, create preconditions for the emergence of new emission-free industries as well as to increase Estonia's tax and export revenues.