New Zealand’s track record with end-of-life tyres is littered with good intentions, dubious science and failed investments. While some businesses are safely recycling tyres, these are the exception rather than the rule. A more common outcome has been abandoned stockpiles of tyres that councils and ratepayers are forced to pay millions to tidy up.
It’s a big issue: approximately 5 million tyres reach the end of their useful life each year in New Zealand but less than 30% are being recycled. This is in stark contrast to other countries such as Canada, where they have been recycling tyres for 25 years and achieving diversion rates of over 90%.
So why are we failing to achieve these results here?