The Leading Journal for the Tyre Recycling Sector

The Leading Journal for the Tyre Recycling Sector

Latvia May Offer Free Tyre Recycling

Latvia is planning a draft Law that will see end of life tyres in the country being recycled for free at the point of sale

Latvian Television programme ‘Environmental Facts‘ reported that it is planned to advance a draft law in the Saeima with more understandable rules and a system for handing over used tyres free of charge to discourage illegal dumping.

The State Environmental Service (VVD) admitted that it often receives complaints via its “Environmental SOS” app about used tyres being dumped in forests, or on roadsides. 

“Environmental Facts” tried to estimate how many tyres get thrown away in Latvia every year. If approximately 750,000 vehicles undergo technical inspection in Latvia every year and one set of tyres has to be changed once every three years, then every year it estimates that approximately one million tyres that would have to be recycled.

“In 2021, more than 20 thousand tonnes of tyres were sold, new, through producer responsibility systems, but the problem is that not all tyres are accounted for through producer responsibility systems, that is, maybe some tyres are imported together with vehicles, and some are used, which does not reach the manufacturers’ responsibility systems. Therefore, the actual volume of tyres could be larger,” explained Atis Treijs, director of the Waste Management Department of the State Environmental Service.

In the control campaign of the State Environmental Service for car repair shops, it was found that every tenth car repair shop has significant stockpiles of tyres, but 62 per cent of car repair shops have not handed over tyres to waste managers in the past year. One of the main conclusions is that free transfer options and the availability of waste managers would motivate the customer to accept and transfer used tyres legally and in a more environmentally friendly manner.

Rudīte Vesere, director of the Environmental Protection Department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM), stated that for a fee, used tyres can be handed over at almost all separate waste collection points where tyres are generally accepted, but in some places it is stipulated that four tyres per year per household will be accepted free of charge. 

“When you buy tyres, at the point of sale or at the service station where you change tyres, you need to pay attention to whether they are involved in the manufacturer’s responsibility system and will therefore accept tyres from you in exchange for new ones,” said Vesere.

According to VARAM, the State Environmental Service explains that information can be found on the website, where when opening the “Used tyres” section, visitors will see all the sorting areas and places where used tyres can be handed over.

Also on the website , information has been added about whether tyres will be accepted for free and how much will have to be paid if necessary, but care has to be taken as some only allow free collection from households in their direct locale or specific municipality.

On average, the fee for handing in one tyre currently ranges from 2 to 3.50 euros.

“It would be correct to hand over the used tyres when you get the new ones – whether it is a shop, a car service, an exchange place. When you receive the new ones, it would be correct to leave the old tyres there, but unfortunately in life this does not always happen,” stated Jānis Aizbalts, chairman of the board of SIA “Eco Baltia vide“.

According to him, some service centres do not accept tyres at all, some require payment. “If the service centre has not taken your used tyres, then the best solution is to go to waste sorting areas. Here, you have to look at the season and the place – there are places where it takes place in the form of a promotion for free, in others it takes place all year round, but for a fee,” emphasized Aizbalts.

The lack of a unified and easy to understand system is most likely the reason why some tyres end up in forests, ditches or near household waste containers. Said the report.

When collected with household waste, tyres will be landfilled rather than recycled. Aizbalts believes that the essence of the problem lies in the regulatory acts, because not all tyres in Latvia are regulated in such a way that the manufacturer has already paid the recycling fee for them. 

There is hope that this situation will change, as changes to the law are currently being developed, which stipulate that, when buying or changing tyres, it will be mandatory to accept used tyres. “We are reviewing the entire system as a whole, and currently these principles are also being reviewed throughout the European Union – how tyres are managed, what requirements are set in the producer responsibility system. We are also looking at how to develop the system so that it is really as simple and understandable as possible to hand over tyres. We are moving towards the fact that tyres will be accepted free of charge, because initially we will have already paid for them to be able to be handed over,” explained VARAM representative Vesere.

During the next year, this regulation could be developed and forwarded to the Saeima for approval.

Source: Vides Fakti