New Zealand’s first national tire recycling scheme ready to go

New Zealand’s first nationwide scheme for recycling used tires is set to go live next year, thanks to a successful application for $1.2 million in funding.

The scheme, called Tyrewise, will aim to recycle the 6.5 million end-of-life tires each year, and forms the “last piece of the puzzle for tyres, and part of the Government’s wider actions to change the way we manage our resources and reduce waste,” said Minister for the Environment, David Parker.

“Once regulations for the scheme are enacted, Tyrewise will run one of the first regulated product stewardship schemes in New Zealand.”

New Zealand's first national tire recycling scheme will get underway in 2023.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Stuff

New Zealand’s first national tire recycling scheme will get underway in 2023.

There are some local tire recycling schemes, like the one in Palmerston North, but this will be the first time it will be offered on a national scale.

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The news follows the Auto Stewardship New Zealand Limited’s (ASNZ) successful application to the Waste Minimization Fund – Te Pūtea Whakamauru Para for funding of $1.2 million. ASNZ is the product stewardship organization that governs Tyrewise.

Tire fires like this will hopefully reduce with more tire recycling.

Bryn Preston/Supplied

Tire fires like this will hopefully reduce with more tire recycling.

Mark Gilbert, Chair of ASNZ says the funding means Tyrewise can move forward. “We can now get started on creating the practical building blocks that will enable Tyrewise to begin operation next year.”

Things will kick off with a four-month trial in Hawke’s Bay, which will “test all aspects of the scheme design including electronic tracking, audit, and compliance systems since August this year,” Gilbert said.

Regulation is required under the Waste Minimization Act 2008 to ensure that whole industry participation is mandatory and, according to Gilbert, there is a level playing field and no free riders. “The tire and vehicle industry has long been in favor of this approach.”

Tyrewise will ensure tires are collected and recycled instead of ending up in landfills, roadsides, or illegally dumped.

Supplied

Tyrewise will ensure tires are collected and recycled instead of ending up in landfills, roadsides, or illegally dumped.

When the scheme is live, it will be funded through an advanced stewardship fee, set to be charged to tire importers by New Zealand Customs and tires on vehicles at the first point of registration. It’s unclear if this fee will be pushed to consumers or not.

According to Tyrewise, most consumers are already paying a recycling fee when buying new tyres. But the fee isn’t uniform and there’s no guarantee tires will actually get recycled. Tyrewise will ensure tires are collected and recycled instead of ending up in landfills, roadsides, or illegally dumped.

Tyrewise has set a target of 80% of tires collected and processed by the fourth year of operation and over 90% by the sixth year, Gilbert said. Critically, this will also encourage new businesses to enter the market and create new jobs in Aotearoa New Zealand, he added.

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