New Zealand company, Ecoversion Ltd pleaded guilty to charges around its Kaweru District stockpile. However, as is becoming familiar, the stockpile remains. Despite years of debate, New Zealand still has no solution to end of life tyres.
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The bill for dealing with the Hamilton tyre mountain has topped $500,000NZ, and with ongoing litigation, the bill could rise by another $200,000NZ, and that is without a single tyre being removed.
The issue revolves around New Zealand’s lack of any sort of tyre management plan, which originally gave rise to the development, amongst others, of the Frankton Tyre Yard. Ecoversion were awarded $280,000NZ to remove the tyre pile. However, without suitable means of disposal and little recycling in New Zealand, Ecoversion simply relocated the tyres.
In September 2017, Ecoversion was fined $78,000 for noncompliance with an abatement notice as the tyre mountain continued to grow with no recycling effort made.
A judge also ordered Ecoversion to remove all the tyres from the Kawerau yard where they were stored by April 2018. By October there was no real movement on the stock.
Typically, a $4 to $5 disposal fee is built into the price of each tyre, but with limited recycling options, mountains of dumped or stockpiled tyres are becoming the norm, especially when tyre yards close.
Ecoversion and Kaweru District Council came to an agreement with Jason Hubbard, who voluntarily allowed the tyres to be stored on his property on a temporary basis, in order to assist the council with the problem.
The tyre mountains appearing all over the country create health and fire risks. The only means of recycling tyres is to turn them into fuel for incinerators.
Hamilton City Councillor Dave Macpherson said in March that due diligence was not followed when council selected Ecoversion to dispose of the city’s tyre problem.
“They were only supposed to be here for a few months, as they were going to put them into containers and ship them out,” Said Hubbard.
“I should have walked away, but I just wanted to help get those tyres out of town.”
In August, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced plans for mandatory “product stewardship” for tyres, lithium batteries, agrichemicals and synthetic greenhouse gases.
Sage said details of the stewardship are being fleshed out, but it could stop tyre mountains from becoming the norm in New Zealand.
Zero Waste New Zealand‘s Marty Hoffart said his organisation – a collection of community groups nationwide tackling the waste issue – think tyre stewardship is the only way the problem can be resolved.
Hoffart said the free market cannot solve the growing tyre problem.