New Zealand’s first national tyre recycling scheme launches

MEDIA RELEASE: A national scheme, which many believe is the solution to millions of tyres piled in paddocks, illegally dumped, or sent to landfill in New Zealand every year, officially launches today.

Tyrewise, Aotearoa New Zealand’s first regulated product stewardship scheme for end-of-life tyres will see the introduction of a ‘tyre stewardship fee’ on tyres sold in New Zealand, loose, or on a vehicle, from today.

This will replace the current, ad hoc tyre disposal fees being charged when tyres are removed from vehicles, says Adele Rose, of Tyrewise Scheme Delivery Managers 3R Group.

“From 1 September, Tyrewise will be responsible for arranging the free collection of end-of-life tyres from registered tyre sellers, garages, and public collection sites around the country. The scheme will also ensure the tyres go to registered processors and manufacturers, so they get a second life in a new product, rather than being landfilled, stockpiled, or dumped,” Adele says.

AA Chief Mobility Officer Jonathan Sergel says it’s been frustrating to see the majority of tyres haven’t been recycled or repurposed, despite consumers and retailers paying disposal fees. “The AA wants to see an end to irresponsible disposal of tyres such as stockpiling or tyre fires. The recycling scheme gets these tyres back into the economy, and out of the landfill,” he says.

Only around 40% of the tyres which reach their end-of-life in New Zealand are currently recycled or used in the creation of new products. “Tyrewise has set a target of 80% of tyres processed by the fourth year of operation and over 90% by the sixth year,” Adele says.

The scheme will also invest in the development of innovative, new, high-value uses for rubber from end-of-life tyres. “The New Zealand market has a way to go in that regard, and we’re keen to see higher value products benefit the country as a whole,” she says.

Tyrewise is a result of years-long work by the Aotearoa tyre supply chain and extensive consultation, to design something which works in the New Zealand context while benefiting everyone, Adele says. “It’s something we are all very proud of.”

Motor Trade Association (MTA) Sector Manager – Repairer & Environmental, Glen McGarry says their members want consistency around end-of-life tyre collection services and costs. “They’re pleased to see the transparency that’s built into the software that retailers, collection sites and transporters will be using as part of Tyrewise,” he says.

Bridgestone Director – New Zealand Business, John Staples says the company has been a proud supporter of Tyrewise from the beginning. “As a tyre importer with a goal of accelerating the circular economy in our business, Bridgestone are keen to see resources recovered from tyres that are brought into the country when they’re at the end of their life,” he says.

The scheme will initially cover all pneumatic and solid tyres for use on motorised vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trailers, caravans, all-terrain vehicles, tractors, forklifts, aircraft, and off-road vehicles, whether they’re imported loose, or already on a vehicle. There are plans to bring a second scope of tyres for products like bicycles, and non-motorised equipment, such as prams, as well as pre-cured rubber for retreads, into the scheme at a later date. Consultation on scope two tyres is expected in late 2024.

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