Tyre industry pumped by Government announcement

Adele Rose, Chief Executive of 3R Group, the project managers for Tyrewise.

MEDIA RELEASE: Dumping and stockpiling of tyres will become a thing of the past after they were today (29 July) declared a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, according to the industry-led Tyrewise project.

The total volume of tyres (car, truck, aircraft etc.) which come to the end of their useful life in New Zealand each year is currently equivalent to over 7.75 million passenger tyre equivalents – some 73,700 tonnes worth.

The much-anticipated announcement, by Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage, means all tyres will now be responsibly managed, following a circular economy approach for the resources recovered from them.

“This will end illegal stockpiling and dumping which has over time cost both ratepayers and the environment heavily,” says Adele Rose, Chief Executive of 3R Group, the project managers for Tyrewise, which has been leading the push for regulation of end of life tyres.

The move has been long-awaited by the tyre industry.  “This is what we have been working towards for the past eight years,” says Adele. “We’re delighted that together we have got this over the line, despite numerous setbacks.”

In 2012 stakeholders established the Tyrewise project and welcomed the introduction of an industry-led framework for a regulated stewardship scheme.  However successive Governments failed to make use of the tools available to regulate end of life tyres.

Today’s announcement means a regulated product stewardship scheme will have to be established to ensure all end-of-life tyres (ELTs) are responsibly managed.

“Now, with Minister Sage having made the announcement, Tyrewise can forge ahead with the industry-led scheme that has been designed” says Adele.

“The key impact of regulated product stewardship is ensuring there is a level playing field for all manufacturers and distributors, without the negative impact of free-riders who choose not to participate in a voluntary scheme.”

The industry has long been in favour of a regulated product stewardship scheme for tyres, according to Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association Chief Executive, and Tyrewise working group member, David Vinsen. “We’re disappointed it has taken so many years to be announced so we are fully in support of it and welcome the announcement by the Minister.”

The proposed regulatory scheme has an advanced disposal fee built into the cost of tyres which will be used to fund the scheme.  “It is critical that people understand this is not an additional fee for consumers but replaces the existing disposal fees charged by most tyre retailers without any surety of good environmental management at end of life. The proposed Tyrewise scheme will ensure the positive outcomes we all want,” Adele says.

The fee will be used to incentivise end markets, processing and collection of tyres, putting an end to stockpiles, illegal dumping or landfilling tyres, and the associated risks to people and the environment, along with an auditing and compliance programme to evidence compliance, she says.

“End-of-life tyres represent a huge potential resource.  A regulated product stewardship scheme makes economic and environmental sense and will enable a circular economy approach to deal with these tyres,” Adele says.

The Minister also announced plastic packaging, refrigerants, e-waste, agrichemicals and their containers, and farm plastics as priority products under the Act.

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