New levy: SA’s Tyre recycling plan criticised as being ‘no plan at all’

2012-01-11 00:00

ENVIRONMENTAL Affairs Minister Edna Molewa yesterday approved an Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan (IIWTMP) that will see vehicle owners pay a few rands more for each new tyre to pay for a national drive to collect old tyres country wide.

The plan will be implemented and managed by the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (Redisa), a not-for-profit organisation independent from the SA tyre industry.

The tyre law will be funded by a levy of R2,30 per kilo, applied to all tyres either manufactured or imported on or after 1 February 2012. Tyres already in stock will not be affected.

Redisa said SA’ tyre industry sell more than 10 million new tyres every year, which adds 10 million old tyres to the mountain of scrap tyres currently stockpiled all over in South Africa.

All stakeholders in the tyre industry must register for the plan by 31 January 2012. More details on visit www.redisa.org.za or call 021 671 7207.

Industry observers have welcomed the much-delayed announcement, but criticised “the total lack of a plan in the Plan”.

Graham Erasmus, publishing editor of Automotive Business Review, said: “As yet, Redisa has no plan to manage the old tyres, which range in number from 60 million to 100 million — depending on who you listen to.

“In their own words Redisa’ admits: ‘the need for research and development, collection and recycling is therefore imperative’.

“All the NGO can hope to achieve under the plan is move the tyres from one part of town to the other, where it will continue to pose an environmental problem, both as pollutants and as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and vermin,” Erasmus said.

He explained that the root of the problem was that tyres are made very tough to withstand high impacts and that there is as yet no technology to recycle the rubber in an environmentally friendly yet economically viable way.

“The closest anyone has come to a solution was tested on KwaZulu-Natal’s East Coast, where used tyres — which are made from crude oil and natural rubber — were successfully tested as fuel for a cement kiln, although scrubbing the emission from the burning tyres still pose a few costing problems,” Eramus told The Witness.

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