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Tyre recycling scheme draws near

Nationwide programme for old tyres to start in 2023 following a trial in Hawke’s Bay this year.
Posted on 21 June, 2022
Tyre recycling scheme draws near

New Zealand’s first nationwide regulated product stewardship scheme for recycling used tyres is expected to start operating in 2023.

Known as Tyrewise, the programme aims to deliver a “positive environmental outcome” for most of the estimated 6.5 million used tyres that reach end-of-life in New Zealand annually.

Implementation of the scheme follows Auto Stewardship New Zealand Ltd (ASNZ), which will operate Tyrewise, making a successful application for $1.2 million from the government’s Waste Minimisation Fund – Te Pūtea Whakamauru Para.

Mark Gilbert, chairman of ASNZ, says the funding means Tyrewise can move forward and begin operating from next year.

“It’s been a long road, but we are very pleased to have moved out of the design stage and put our plans into action,” he adds. 

“In particular, the four-month trial in Hawke’s Bay will test all aspects of the scheme design including electronic tracking, audit, and compliance systems from August this year.”

Tyrewise was set up in 2012 as result of the co-designed product stewardship scheme for end-of-life tyres (ELTs) and regulation is required under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 to ensure whole industry participation is mandatory. 

Once the regulated scheme is running, Tyrewise will be funded through an advanced stewardship fee, proposed to be charged to tyre importers by New Zealand Customs and tyres on vehicles at the first point of registration. 

Other systems will be in place for tyres on vehicles not registered for the road.  The new stewardship fee will replace the current ad-hoc fee charged by tyre retailers. 

Gilbert notes most consumers already pay a recycling fee when they buy new tyres, but this charge fee isn’t uniform and consumers have no guarantee their old tyres will get recycled. 

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

“Recent tyre-pile fires are an acute example of the threat ELTs pose to people and the environment, despite them being a valuable commodity.”

Tyrewise has a target of 80 per cent of tyres collected and processed by the fourth year of operation and more than 90 per cent by the sixth year.

David Parker, Minister for the Environment, says regulated product stewardship schemes are important for the transition to a low-emissions, low-waste, circular economy. 

“The new scheme is 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,” he explains.

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