An optimization project has increased the number of so-called “doughnut briquettes” in BIRN's melting of iron from 15 to 25 percent. In addition to keeping material costs down, the project also benefits the environment; the briquettes consist of, among other things, steel wire from used car tires, which now go into BIRN’s melting furnaces.

After having done their duty on Denmark’s roads, most Danish car tires are reused as playground swings or artificial turf pitch granules — but that’s only half the story. 

Alongside rubber, car tires also feature steel cords. The steel cords are sent to the foundry BIRN in Holstebro in Western Denmark for reuse. The foundry, one of Northern Europe’s biggest, adds the newly recycled steel cord briquettes with added cast iron shavings from its production to its melting iron. 

Kurt Bjarne Larsen, foundry technical manager at BIRN, invented these briquettes roughly ten years ago. Briquettes replace scrap in BIRN’s melting processes, making up approximately 15 percent of the foundry’s melting iron since its conception — until today. 

Through a circular optimization project, BIRN has successfully increased that share to about 25 percent. And even though a 10 percent increase seems modest, Kurt Bjarne Larsen believes it’s still significant: 
- This percentage increase means we buy steel cords from all car tires that go for recycling in Denmark, e.g., from Genan’s Viborg factory and other places. We must receive the cords as soon as possible after recycling as it helps avoid rust and ensures the quality of material, which of course, must be top-notch before we use it, says Kurt Bjarne Larsen, and continues:

- It’s a circular economy at its very best, so to speak. Steel cord fractions are a non-attractive material for many others, but it's desirable for us here at BIRN. It helps stabilize the company’s costs and benefits the environment as we recycle a material we would otherwise dispose of.

Sustainability is good business
Sustainability has developed into a strategically important area for the entire BIRN Group. In addition to BIRN in Holstebro, the foundry group comprises Tasso in Odense, Uldalls Jernstøberi in Vejen, Kockums Maskin AB in Sweden, BIRN GmBH in Germany, and Bernareggi in Italy.

- As a company, we want to take responsibility for the surrounding community, and our customers have the same desire. Therefore, sustainability has gradually developed into customer demand, and we must continue to document that we work with it, says Claus Beier, Group CEO at BIRN.

He and the rest of the BIRN Group are aware that the focus on sustainability will require investments, but according to Claus Beier, it’s a necessity: 

- Along with higher demands from customers on sustainability, we are also in a situation where energy prices are sky-high. It makes sense to optimize our production further. Sustainability is important for us, which the circular optimization project with steel cord briquettes helps us emphasize, he concludes. 


For further information, please contact:

  • Group CEO Claus Beier, BIRN, mobile +45 2923 1227 and e-mail: 
  • Press service: Anders Bo Andersen, mobile +45 2869 8307 and e-mail: 


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