Whole tyres have already been banned since 2003 and with the deadline for the EU Tyre Directive looming, tyre manufacturers are coming to grips with the changes the legislation will bring to the industry.
“With around 30m car and truck tyres per annum to be disposed of in the UK, this is a major environmental issue in which we all need to play our part,” says Tim Bailey of Continental Tyres.
The tyre industry has been working to prepare for the directive together with the government for several years. Peter Taylor, secretary of the Tyre Recovery Association, believes that there is a robust recovery system in place.
“There’s a stable system that has been operating for a number of years now, so the deadline is unlikely to be a problem,” he says. “The only questions that will arise will be from the less reputable collectors. People in the industry using them will have to look for alternatives, but they are out there.”
Taylor says that it will be up to the Environment Agency to find those collectors dumping tyres illegally and to stop their behaviour.
The problem of tyre disposal is expected to affect regions differently. Dawn Allen, director of Albert Looms, a Derby vehicle dismantler, believes that areas in the south of England will be the worst affected, while she expects the situation in the Midlands to be “fairly good”.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) was started in 2005 to help break down barriers in the collection, segregation and reprocessing of waste tyres. It has worked together with the government and industry to find alternative end uses for recovered material and to develop their markets.
It is confident the tyre industry will be able to cope with the deadline. A spokesman says: “There is processing capacity within existing facilities that could be utilized to cope with more demand.”