The California Assembly has recently rejected a much discussed tyre recycling Bill. The Bill was heavily supported by environmental groups but equally heavily opposed by the tyre industry.
California Assembly Bill 1239, which would have established a new tyre regulatory fee in the state and replaced a popular tyre grant program with a new incentive program, was voted down by the assembly on Aug. 31 by a 34-34 party-line vote.
AB 1239 needed 41 votes from the 80-member Assembly to pass, according to Terry Leveille, president of Sacramento-based TL & Associates and legislative representative for the California Tire Dealers Association (CTDA). Most of the remaining 12 votes were abstentions, he said.
Sponsored by Californians Against Waste (CAW) and 15 other California-based environmental groups, AB 1239 first passed the California Assembly in June 2015 and was later approved, with amendments, by the California Senate on Aug. 22, 2016. The Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee approved the Senate amendments 6-2 on Aug. 30, but the full Assembly could not reach agreement on the amended bill.
As described by CAW, AB 1239 would have provided incentive payments to end-users of recycled tyres to improve the state’s recycling rate. It also would have given the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) authority to add up to $1 to the state’s $1.75-per-tyre scrap tyre fee to cover the costs of regulating waste tyres.
However, tyre industry representatives were dubious at best about the bill. They were supportive of the legislation’s goal of achieving a 75-per cent recycling rate, but felt its definition of recycling was too restrictive.
“They didn’t include tyre-derived fuel in their definition of recycling, or exports of tyres to other states or countries,” Mr. Leveille said. They also didn’t allow the use of tyre-derived aggregate, except for projects involving methane gas collection.
Tyre manufacturers and dealers were unhappy with the removal of the grant programmes and their replacement with incentive-based initiatives.
In a letter to the California Assembly, the CTDA said it believed that replacing the grant program with an incentive program would be a mistake.
“The proposed incentive program has met with mixed success in several states and has been highly criticized in Canada, most recently in Ontario,” the association said.
Furthermore, it was questionable if CalRecycle could ever spend down its Tire Fund Balance after the incentive program was established, according to the CTDA. That fund reached an all-time high of $78 million on this past July 1, it said.
The Rubber Manufacturers Associationwas pleased with the bill’s failure.
“The RMA supports environmentally and economically sustainable scrap tyre programs to reduce stockpiles and promote end-use markets,” said RMA President and CEO Anne Forristall Luke.
“AB 1239 wouldn’t have advanced that goal, so we were unable to support it,” Ms. Luke said. “The California legislature made the right decision on this bill.”