Old tyres banned from landfill

As of this Sunday, July 16, used tyres can no longer be landfilled, meaning a boost to the already healthy market for recycling the rubber.

The new rules come as part of the EU’s Landfill Directive, which will see a ban on dumping used tyres across the whole of the union.

Whole tyres have been banned from landfill since 2003 but now it is no longer legal to shred and dump.

Tractor tyres, large truck tyres and bicycle tyres are not covered by the ban and nor, ironically, are new tyres which may have been rejected at the quality control stage.

Liz Parkes, head of waste regulation at the Environment Agency said: “From 16 July, regulations will ban used whole and shredded tyres from being disposed of in all landfill sites.

“Over 48 million tyres were scrapped in 2004, with around a quarter of these going to landfill sites. The tyre industry have responded to the requirements of the ban and recovery capacity has been increasing steadily from 1995 to an estimated 95% in 2005. This legislation will help us reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill, especially as there are better ways we can manage waste tyres.

“More tyres will now have to be recovered, recycled and reused – options include retreading, use as alternative fuel, reprocessing into chip and crumb for use in rubberised playing field surfaces and roadways and drainage schemes.”

Other established uses include turning them into office stationery like mousemats, bookmarks and coasters or even recycling the rubber to make carpet underlay.

The tyre industry already has a well-developed logistics network, made up of companies that operate nationally and locally providing a waste tyre collection service for businesses.

The Environment Agency will work closely with landfill operators and waste producers, and their trade associations, the ESA, BMRA and local authorities, to ensure a smooth transition.

“Our overall aim is to ensure the continued safe management of waste tyres after the ban on landfill disposal comes into effect,” said Ms Parkes.

“The Environment Agency will take a pragmatic and proportionate approach to enforce the regulations, and take action against those who deliberately abuse the rules and fly tip or allow tyres to be disposed of in landfills.”

Industry insiders believe the ban will have little effect on business, as there has been plenty of time to gear up for the new regulations.

John Dorken, spokesperson for the Tyre Industry Federation, said: “The tyre industry has been preparing for this ban for more than six years and has already achieved a 95% recovery rate of used tyres.

“An example of this approach is the highly successful voluntary Responsible Recycler Scheme, which covers higher volumes of used tyres than any other voluntary scheme in Europe and ensures that all used tyres are disposed of in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner.

“Due to the efficient market structure already in place for the recovery of used tyres, the tyre industry does not believe that the ban will result in any significant problems in the recovery of used tyres as the UK’s collection and reprocessing system has the flexibility to deal with any fluctuations.”

Sam Bond

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