Waste tyre management plan and fee now operational in South Africa

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Monday, July 1, 2013

<p>South Africa's Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan requires manufacturers and importers of tyres to pay a waste tyre management fee which subsidises the collection of waste tyres and tyre recycling (Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_11308906_old-road-tires-stacked-on-grass-land-as-background.html'>sasilsolutions / 123RF Stock Photo</a>).</p>

South Africa's Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan requires manufacturers and importers of tyres to pay a waste tyre management fee which subsidises the collection of waste tyres and tyre recycling (Image credit: sasilsolutions / 123RF Stock Photo).

The Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan aims to make tyre producers responsible for waste tyre recycling and environmentally friendly disposal by requiring all manufacturers and importers of tyres to pay R2.30 +VAT per kilogramme of tyre.  The Waste Tyre Management Plan, an initiative of the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA), was approved on the 29 November 2012 and the first waste tyre management fee payments were made at the end of May 2013.    

Speaking at a recent Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Environmental Committee Meeting, Herman Erdmann, CEO of REDISA says, “Some people argue that this is a tax, no, it’s the cost of manufacturing, and it’s something as a concept that we have to start rethinking in terms of the responsibility of a producer, that you are responsible for the whole lifecycle of the product.” Erdmann added that the waste management tyre fee “…places money aside for dealing with tyres when their lifecycle comes to an end” and that the funds will be used for transporting the tyres, helping to set up depots, providing training and funding research and development  into reuse and recycling of tyres. 

By paying the waste tyre management fee, tyre manufacturers will not be required to handle the recycling of the tyres themselves, instead REDISA will take over this responsibility and manage the recycling process of transporting the tyres to depot and recycling plants and supporting the recycling of tyres into new products. Erdmann adds “the manufacturers pay REDISA the waste tyre management fee which frees them from the liability as REDISA takes this over.”

Erdmann explains that REDISA’s Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan is the first Integrated Industry Waste Plan of many that are being commissioned by the Department of Environmental Affairs. “In South Africa we have 38 waste streams and of this the tyre management plan is the first which has been registered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and approved.” Erdmann further explains the reason that REDISA targeted tyres for their integrated waste management plan, “We started with tyres as this is the easiest waste stream to deal with because when you are dealing with tyres it is one of those few things where the first kilometre of collection is not needed because when you change your tyres you bring them back to a shop and they exchange it for you so it’s very easy to do the first kilometre of collection.”

REDISA is currently conducting research with Stellenbosch University to determine the most effective ways of dealing with waste tyres in the South African context and to look for secondary markets for tyres, says Erdmann. Erdmann explains that lots of products can be made from rubbercrumb. For instance it can be used in road construction, and to make manhole covers. Furthermore REDISA is also working closely with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University who are building a R60 million test facility for tyres that will help to support an environmental rating developed for tyres so that manufacturers that produce tyres that last longer will be rewarded by paying a reduced fee per kilogramme of tyre, explains Erdmann.

Erdmann adds that the plan will empower small transporters to transport tyres from the manufacturers to the recyclers and that the process will be managed by REDISA. Transporters will also receive a quota for the collection of tyres that have been dumped. These transporters will be paid by REDISA. Erdmann says that South Africa has “approximately 11 million new tyres being sold annually in the country, and approximately 60 million tyres lying in the veld throughout South Africa.” Waste tyres often illegally end up in stockpiles or on general landfills where they contribute to air pollution and are considered a fire hazard.

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Amanda Botes