Around 3.9 million passenger tyres and some 1.2 million truck and other tyres reach their end of life in New Zealand annually. A proportion of these are responsibly recycled or disposed in landfills, many are not. A collection and end use infrastructure has developed but the outcomes vary considerably.
A culture of charging for spent “casings” at retail level has developed but the attachment of those funds to the disposal of the tyre is not uniform and there is evidence of “lowest cost” outcomes leading to tyre piles or illegal dumping. The economic cost to NZ overall from these variable practices is possibly the same as it would be if the costs were properly internalised to the tyre itself (ie. the application of an advanced disposal fee at time of purchase or import which would cover future disposal) and made visible (ie. shown on a retail receipt). This would avoid non-compliance, or “externalities”, falling on ratepayers and taxpayers, such as dumping or tyre stockpiling.
Tyrewise was set up in 2012 to provide a framework for the development of a stewardship programme to manage end-of-life tyres in New Zealand.
The industry-led framework for a mandatory stewardship programme for end-of-life tyres was signed off and presented to then Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith, in August 2013. This was based on the then National Government taking the step to declare tyres as priority product using the provisions of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.
A further review by KPMG, to “research economic barriers to tyre recycling in New Zealand” determined that the cost benefits of three options (‘status quo’, ‘bounded free market’ and ‘mandatory product stewardship’), met the net benefit test with the difference between them being “immaterial”.
In 2016, inviting applications to the Waste Minimisation Fund, the National government proceeded with an investment strategy to secure markets for end of life tyres. Funding was awarded to a number of projects in June 2017. This step postponed any decision about declaring tyres a ‘priority product’ until the results of this funding investment materialised and effectively put Tyrewise ‘on hold’.
Following the 2017 election, the new coalition government included “to establish a tyre stewardship fund” (p4) as one of their coalition priorities for their first term.
This renewed industry hopes that a mandatory product stewardship solution for tyres would be put in place.
Since that time, the Associate Minister for the Environment and the Ministry for the Environment have confirmed they will be working on regulating six waste streams – tyres, synthetic greenhouse gases, agricultural chemicals, farm plastics, e-waste and packaging, and in May 2019, the Tyrewise project was officially resurrected.
This includes what currently happens, best practice, preferred stewardship options, mass balance data on tyre imports and the recovery and recycling of end of life tyres from 2015 to 2018.
Consultation will then take place on the preferred stewardship option which will include all registered tyre importer and resellers and registered collectors, recyclers and end market developers of end-of-life tyres.
If you want to get involved in the project or simply keep up-to-date with developments, get in touch.
Tyrewise is a product stewardship programme in development. We don’t yet have all the answers!
As we progress we will endeavour to answer the most common questions here.
Tyrewise is the industry-led product stewardship solution for end of life tyres. It calls for tyres to be declared as priority product under the provisions of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. It will provide for the nationwide recovery and safe disposal of End of Life Tyres (ELTs) in New Zealand. You can find out more about the latest developments on the News page.
Regulated (or mandatory) product stewardship is when a product is declared a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 by the Minister for the Environment. If the Minister declares a product to be a priority product, it allows additional steps to be taken to manage its environmental effects. For example, regulations can be developed that place restrictions on the production, sale, or disposal of the product. Guidelines that any product stewardship scheme must follow can also be established.
You can read more on the Ministry for the Environment website.
The Final Summary Report gives a clear overview of the ELT problem within New Zealand and the Working Group’s proposed solution, including guiding principles, costs and benefits, explanation of incentives and proposed timelines.
Key points from the report are:
The negative environmental and economic impact of end of life tyres which are not disposed of appropriately is well documented. Considering the environmental impact of stewardship during the development of Tyrewise is crucial to the eventual sustainability of a commercial programme.
The working group evaluated which option has the best prospects of reducing greenhouse gases from tyre fires, reducing toxicity of leachate from stockpiles and reducing waste to landfill. The programme will be developed and audited against ISO 14001 Environmental Standards to ensure a robust system to meet environmental targets.
The preferred programme will bring a realistic price into the purchase phase of the tyre life cycle (reducing the risk of failure) and ensure recovery / recycling processors are “fit for purpose” and mitigate harm to the environment.
The working group submitted a proposed product stewardship scheme to the then Minister for the Environment in August 2013. This marked the end of the project phase of the development of Tyrewise.
Stage two started in May 2019.
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During project phase one, a stakeholder working group (Tyrewise Working Group) was overseeing the development of the programme under the guidance of project managers, 3R Group.
Auto Stewardship New Zealand (ASNZ) is a not-for-profit charitable trust which will work as an umbrella organisation for all aspects of “autos” including and beyond tyres.
The Tyrewise Working Group (TWG) is a coalition of industry representatives who came together to develop a stewardship programme for ELTs. To ensure that the eventual programme has the highest opportunity for success, these stakeholders hold a mandate making clear their responsibility and authority to act on behalf of the entity they represent.
The Group, including Project Managers, 3R Group, will continue to act in an advisory group capacity during the interim phase from completion of the project to scheme implementation.