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Tyre scheme almost on the right track

Tyre scheme almost on the right track

Green MP Mike Ward is cautiously welcoming the new national waste tyre strategy announced today, but warns that such voluntary measures let irresponsible vendors off the hook.

Tyre Track, a nationwide initiative of the Environment Ministry and the Motor Trade Association, will collect used tyres from dealers and deliver them to approved storage and disposal and recycling points.

"Getting tyre dealers to take responsibility for disposal at the end of their products' lives is a healthy precedent that should be applied to all consumer goods," said Mr Ward, the Green Party's Waste-free Spokesperson.

"This scheme is the first Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) initiative by the New Zealand Government and is therefore welcome. EPR is a central component in the Green Party's Waste-free Strategy.

"But while a voluntary scheme is better than no scheme at all, it is still a bit of a disappointment. Tyre tracking is an important component in reducing the used tyre problem, but it really has to apply to all dealers to be truly effective. I understand that tyre dealers themselves would prefer a process that is binding on all operators because the scheme launched today is likely, in practice, to impose costs on responsible dealers, but let the irresponsible off the hook.

"And tracking alone is unlikely to completely eliminate the supply of tyres that eventually land up in toxic and unsafe piles around our beautiful country. Measures to encourage re-treading and controls on the import of used tyres are also needed if we're going to reduce the numbers of tyres being 'thrown away' in the first place.

"Currently industry is able to externalise the true cost of its products by imposing disposal onto communities and local authorities. EPR means producers have to accept responsibility for the waste they create. Overseas evidence shows that EPR, such as container deposit refund systems and packaging levies, encourage reuse and recycling and therefore reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The Greens believe that only compulsory EPR will save these precious islands from being buried in waste," said Mr Ward.

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