Over 50 representatives from organisations involved in both new and recycled tyre markets gathered in London in January to receive updates on WRAP’s progress since the first Forum, held last June, and continue to provide views and guidance to WRAP on its activities under the programme.
The aim of WRAP’s Tyres programme, which falls under Defra’s Business Resource Efficiency and Waste initiative (BREW), is to increase the inherent value of recycled tyres by stimulating market demand for higher value products. Discussions at the forum mainly revolved around new legislation which will see the banning of the disposal of tyre shred from landfill sites from July 2006.
The view from the forum was that the ban will result in a surplus of car and van tyres, with the actual size of the problem being dependent on several open questions, namely the position of the use of shredded tyre material for landfill engineering and the volume of tyres to be used as a fuel source for cement manufacture and other potential applications.
It was also identified that there was likely to be a serious impact on stakeholders’ costs, as the cost of recovery will rise and increased costs will either have to be absorbed by the sector or passed on. Also, viable alternative recovery routes for the tyres will be required existing outlets are likely to be full and able to charge higher gate fees. Collectors are unlikely to recover costs quickly, thereby undermining their viability.
Initial indications from discussions during the forum were that sufficient applications would emerge to utilise all available used tyres. However, many of these potential applications would take a lengthy period of development, manufacture and marketing before that stage was reached and would therefore not aid the situation in the short term.
There was also felt to be a real need for increased involvement of regulatory and representative bodies. For example, local authorities (possibly through instruction by legislation) could lead the way on the use of retread tyres for their vehicle fleets as part of their sustainable procurement policies. Guidance from central Government and active promotion by WRAP could be very beneficial in this regard.
Stakeholders at the event also voiced their opinion that information dissemination on the situation over the next months should be improved through quarterly updates. WRAP will have a significant role to play in this priority action by the publication of information on the Internet.
Immediately following the landfill ban discussion at the Forum, Defra advised that the EC had given a positive response to their seeking clarification on the use of shredded tyres for landfill engineering.
The clarification serves to illustrate that when certain conditions are met, the use of shredded used tyres as landfill engineering material may amount to a recovery operation where it replaces the use of aggregates. Recovery operations fall outside the scope of the landfill directive. Guidelines will now need to be agreed for the use of shredded tyres in landfill engineering against which recovery may be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Whilst this response was identified as potentially very good news for stakeholders in that it paves the way to removing a prime area of concern, it is still subject to further work and clarification by Defra and the DTI.
Steve Waite, Tyres Material Project Manager at WRAP, said: “Our second Tyres Forum was a big success and highlighted the large volume of work that we have initiated as well giving our stakeholders the opportunity to buy in to our planned work for 2006-07.
“It is clear that real concern exists regarding the introduction of the Landfill Directive banning the disposal of tyre shred into landfills from July this year. Therefore, the news from Defra stating that tyre shred used as landfill engineering may be classed as recovery, and thus allowable, is most welcome news for the industry.”