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Minister Naughten brings transparency to tyre industry

Minister Signs Waste Management (Tyres and Waste Tyres) Regulations 2017
 
September 18, 2017
Denis Naughten, TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has signed the new Waste Management (Tyres and Waste Tyres) Regulations 2017 which will introduce new regulatory structures for the tyre sector with effect from 1st October 2017.

These regulations build on the allocation of €1million to clean up stockpiles of waste tyres, which are illegally dumped around the countryside, potentially causing toxic fire threats and damage to human health.

In addition to cleaning up recklessly dumped stockpiles of tyres, the Minister says he has introduced these regulations to stem the problem. The new regulations for the tyre sector will introduce a full compliance scheme to be operated by Repak ELT with a registration and reporting role for the Producer Register Limited (PRL). The scheme will be based on the Producer Responsibility model that has worked successfully in this country for other waste streams such as packaging, batteries and waste electrical, electronic goods (WEEE).

The new structures will be funded by a visible Environmental Management Cost (vEMC) of €2.80 per car tyre and €1.50 per motorcycle tyre. Further vEMCs will be introduced in due course for truck, construction and agricultural tyres.

Minister Denis Naughten states: “Fees for the collection and management of waste tyres are currently charged – I have evidence of them ranging between €1.50 and €3.50 - but the level of tyres being dumped around the country suggests that these fees do not always end up funding that for which they are intended i.e. the environmentally sound management of tyres. Setting this vEMC in regulation will formalise and standardise this existing charge that the consumer already pays when purchasing new tyres and will ensure that waste tyres are disposed of legally.”

“My intention in introducing this fee has always been clear: The consumer must have confidence that fees they are paying for the proper disposal of their waste tyres are standardised and used for their intended purpose. In the future, I do not want to have to use public finances – derived from taxes on the same consumers – to clean up tyres that are illegally dumped in our countryside and rivers.”

“There is a lack of information in relation to the tyre market in Ireland. These regulations will place a reporting obligation on tyre operators to provide data on the numbers of tyres coming on and off the market. This will be the first time that there will be clarity,” added Minister Naughten.

"A report published by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government found that a significant proportion of waste tyres were not being accounted for (with many being illegally dumped) and a lack of consistent and accurate data on tyres. Capturing data from all tyre operators will be an important step in addressing this," stated Minister Naughten.

The Minister listened to concerns raised by all stakeholders in the formulation of these regulations. The greatest concern voiced to him from all quarters was in relation to the enforcement of the regulations. In this regard, the Minister said:

“I fully recognise the concerns expressed to me in relation to enforcement. Tyres are one of the five priority areas as agreed by the National Waste Enforcement Steering Committee (http://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/environment/topics/waste/enforcement/enforcement-structures/Pages/Waste-Enforcement-Regional-Lead-Authorities.aspx) and I have made €9 million available this year in relation to waste enforcement. Now that these regulations are in place I will be asking the EPA and Local Authorities to begin a visible enforcement campaign on tyres”.

ENDS
 

Background FAQs

What is the Minister introducing?
A full compliance scheme, underpinned by a visible Environmental Management Cost (vEMC) similar to what is in place under the WEEE regime, to deal with Ireland's chronic waste tyres problem. Consumers already pay a fee for the disposal of their old tyres whenever they buy a new one. This charge varies across the country from around €1.50 to €3.50 per tyre. This fee is not provided for in legislation but exists as an informal charge applied by tyre retailers. A major problem with this informal charge is that there is no accountability associated with it and no certainty for the consumer that the disposal fee they currently pay is being used for its intended purpose. The level of illegal stockpiles would suggest that it is often not properly applied.

The model that is being introduced will standardise and formalise a charge that tyre retailers already apply to purchases of new tyres by consumers and ensure that the fee they pay actually goes towards what it is supposed to support – the environmental treatment of waste tyres. As things stand, the consumer pays on the double – first, when they purchase new tyres and then again, through their taxation when local authorities remove illegal tyre stockpiles across the country. The Waste Management (Tyres and Waste Tyres) Regulations 2017 ensures that waste tyres are fully accounted for and properly treated without the consumer paying twice.

What is a Producer Responsibility Initiative/Organisation?
The producer responsibility initiative is an extension of the 'polluter pays' principle. It is intended to encourage businesses to recover value from their products at the end of their life and therefore reduce any adverse environmental impact which may result from the products they produce.

The Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO)/Compliance Scheme approach allows producers to devise schemes that have the capacity to fulfil the basic objectives of waste management legislation in a collective manner. Five waste streams are currently operating under PROs in Ireland: packaging waste (Repak), Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, batteries (WEEE Ireland and ERP), End of Life Vehicles (ELVES) and farm plastics (IFFPG).

Has the informal charge been visible to the public previously?
While the practice varies from retailer to retailer, many already do show a separate disposal fee at the bottom of their invoices. Whether it’s explicitly identified to their customers, there is already some form of environmental charge, in some cases of up to €3.50 ex. VAT per tyre, levied by retailers on consumers purchasing new tyres. In many cases, it is not being used for the purpose it was intended for, i.e. to arrange for proper disposal and waste tyres.

Why is the Minister introducing a new scheme for waste tyres?
We have a chronic problem with waste tyres in Ireland. A report published by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in November 2013 found:
- Between 25% and 50% of waste tyres were not accounted for (with many being illegally dumped)
-​ A high rate of non-compliance with the Tyres Regulations
-​ A lack of consistent and accurate data on tyres
-​ Tracking data limited​

In summary, this system, which has resulted in tyres being dumped illegally around our country, is failing to provide a proper waste management system for tyres and cannot be allowed to continue. The tyre industry is now being asked to do what operators in other areas such as WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), packaging, batteries, and farm plastics have been doing for years.

What will the vEMC be used for?
 The Environmental Management Cost (EMC) will cover the following:-
- Collection fee,
- Transport fee,
- Recycling/recovery fee,
- Scheme management costs,
- Auditing,
- Marketing costs,
- Educations/awareness costs (information for public and the industry), and
- Contingency Reserve.

It’s worth noting that the current charge which consumers pay to retailers when purchasing new tyres is only used for the collection of waste tyres. With the new scheme, the consumer will receive greater value for money as the vEMC will be used to ensure the desired environmental outcomes which the current charge clearly did not achieve.

How will the vEMC be applied?
The cost will be a front-loaded visible (i.e. printed on all sales documents that quote the price of a tyre) Environmental Management Cost (vEMC) which involves the cost being applied by the economic operator (Producer/Wholesaler/Retailer) placing the tyre on the market for the first time.

When will the cost be formalised?
The vEMC for car and motorcycle tyres will come into effect on 1st October 2017.

What will be the cost for agricultural tyres?
The vEMC for agricultural tyres has yet to be determined. Because this is a niche market, there is not the same amount of data available in relation to these tyres to enable the Minister to set a vEMC. The vEMC for agricultural tyres will be set at zero in the new regulations. Producers of agricultural tyres will still have reporting obligations and the collection of this data will inform the Minister’s decision on the level of fee within twelve months from the introduction of the scheme.

Why is the self-compliance option being removed?
The ending of the self-compliance option (i.e. membership by tyre retailers and wholesalers of Repak ELT will be compulsory for all producers) was a recommendation of the PRI Review and is to ensure consistency and to provide a level playing field for all economic operators. The evidence of non-compliance and the scale of unaccounted for tyres would indicate the previous system was not working.

What will happen now to waste tyres collected?
Unlike all our other waste streams, there are no national or EU targets for the tyre industry to achieve at present. Targets for the recovery and recycling of tyres in Ireland will be assigned to the compliance scheme. In common with the targets set in many other European countries, it is anticipated that the targets would be graduated and increased over a number of years. Consideration will also be given to making a percentage of waste tyres available to companies who wish to use waste tyres for activities which are further up the waste hierarchy and in line with the development of the circular economy.

How will the issue of commercially sensitive data be dealt with?
Security of data, particularly data that could be regarded as commercially sensitive, is of fundamental importance to the integrity of the model being developed. The Producer Register Limited (PRL) developed the WEEE Black-Box (WBB) in 2005 in response to Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) producers’ demands for a safe, secure and confidential site, where they could report their confidential sales data. At present, 1,320 WEEE producers report on a monthly basis across 10 categories and 30 sub-categories. The need to maintain confidentiality is highly respected that the WBB is prohibited by legislation from disclosing information to any third parties including PRL.

WBB is a web-based reporting system and secure precautions are taken to protect the producers’ data. Neither the PRL or Repak have ever experienced a data breach and their customers include major multi-national operators in the electrical and electronic sector, such as Apple, Dell, Sony and Tesco etc.

This “black box” is being expanded specifically to address concerns raised by industry in relation to the management of their commercially sensitive data.

Ends

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