New Zealand seems to be having some difficulty in getting its tyre recycling sorted. Environment Minister, Nick Smith, exchewed tried and teted EPR and Stewardship schemes in favour of a scheme that sees tyres hauled to a cement plant, where they are to be incinerated at a cost of $19 million dollars funded by the taxpayer. The majority of that funding, according to media reports, will go to one Chinese owned company, Waste Management NZ to collect and scrap tyres.
New Zealand Product Stewardship Council spokesperson Sandra Murray argues Smith’s solution continues to allow dodgy tyre companies to defraud consumers by charging $5 per tyre recycling fee- without any measures in place to ensure they are actually recycled”.
“This solution, like the current situation, relies on public funding rather than producers taking responsibility.
“What we need is a real solution, one which would see a mandatory product responsibility scheme in place and a levy on purchased tyres - meaning the cost of shredding and re-using tyres is covered by the industry and consumers not the ordinary taxpayer,” she says.
“Such a solution exists and yet it is the same one the minister himself rejected last year, despite the government spending $1 million taxpayer dollars commissioning industry to come up with it.”
“The Minister could have solved the scrap tyre problem years ago, but he refuses to listen to local authorities, regional councils, environmental groups and the tyre industry.”
“What’s more,” she says, “this plan has no transparency or accountability; and no systems in place for monitoring or ensuring results, as councils simply do not have the resourcing to increase monitoring and enforcement.”
It is difficult to understand why a government, when the free market has failed to deal with the problem, cannot adopt a readily available scheme that is operated in an increasing number of countries around the world, and instead would set up a process that is unproven, appears to be questionable and which requires public funding.