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Tyre recycling initiative announced

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for the Environment

14 March 2012

Tyre recycling initiative announced

Government will provide funding of $133,000 to the Product Stewardship Foundation to explore recycling options for used tyres, Environment Minister Nick Smith announced today.

“This funding will be used by the Foundation to work with tyre industry importers and retailers to identify the best way for New Zealand to recycle and re-use our used tyres,” Dr Smith says.

“We have a significant environmental problem in New Zealand with the disposal of about 4 million tyres annually at the end of their useful life. 85% of those tyres end up in landfills where they leach contaminates that pose a long term risk to the environment. We need to find economic ways in which these used tyres can be put to better use.”

“This project is about trying to find a cost effective and more environmentally friendly solution to tyre waste. Possibilities include processing the tyres for road surfacing products, converting them into floor tiles, useable fuels and recycling the steel.”

The Motor Trade Association has taken a lead in bringing vehicle and tyre industry importers and retailers together, with help from project manager, 3R Group. The working group will look at schemes in other countries and develop options and guiding principles for New Zealand. Recyclers and local authorities will also be consulted on preferred options.

“Many countries have product stewardship schemes that enable a high proportion of used tyres to be recycled into alternative products. I am open minded about using the Waste Minimisation Act powers to declare a priority product to enable such a scheme to operate here. This project is about working with industry to see whether a cost-effective solution can be found,” Dr Smith said.

The Government expects to receive the report detailing options by April 2013.

ENDS

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