South African waste management tyre fee to generate R700 million per year to promote tyre recycling

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Monday, November 19, 2012

<p>The Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan will subsidise the collection of waste tyres and tyre recycling so that tyres do not end up being stockpiled or dumped at landfill sites (Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_11308906_old-road-tires-stacked-on-grass-land-as-background.html'>sasilsolutions / 123RF Stock Photo</a>).</p>

The Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan will subsidise the collection of waste tyres and tyre recycling so that tyres do not end up being stockpiled or dumped at landfill sites (Image credit: sasilsolutions / 123RF Stock Photo).

A waste tyre management fee on new tyres in South Africa is expected to generate approximately R700 million per year, 80% of which will be ploughed directly into developing a sustainable tyre recycling industry, according to the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA). 

The fee is being implemented as part of the Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan and is a potential model for other waste streams to follow in South Africa.

The Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan

The Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan, formulated by REDISA, came into effect on the 23 July 2012 and aligns with the legislated Waste Tyre Regulations of 2009 under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (2008). The plan although drafted by REDISA is the property of DEA and is administrated by REDISA.

The Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan is the first of many integrated industry waste management plans that are being commissioned by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), says Hermann Erdmann, CEO of the REDISA.

The plan works by charging a fee to manufacturers and importers of tyres at R2.30 + VAT per kilogramme of tyre. From the 1st October 2012 all manufacturers and importers of tyres have to declare tyres imported and manufactured by weight every month to REDISA and pay the levy. The first declarations had to be in by 10th November 2012, and the first payments will be made at the end of January 2013. The fee is collected by REDISA and will be used to subsidise informal and small collectors, establish a network of waste tyre depots, and support recyclers in a programme to collect, transport, store and recycle waste tyres. 

Transport and collection

“Transport and collection is vitally important as no recycling plant can work if it has no feedstock”, says Erdmann. “Transporters will receive payments based on weight and distance. Transporters will be given specific service orders to collect a given quantity of tyres from a collection point, typically a tyre dealer, and deliver them to a depot or recycler where they will be weighed in.”, says Dr Chris Crozier of REDISA. “Once the initial collection system is established, transporters will be allocated quotas of additional tyres from the veld and illegal stockpiles they can deliver … and will be paid a nominal transport fee based on average costs. That will create opportunities for the very informal collectors to work with those transporters to share the revenue… since the transporters will not be actually collecting the tyres themselves” explains Crozier. The fees will also be used to subsidise research at universities into the different products that tyres can be recycled into such as rubber, oils, bricks and tiles.

Subsidised tyre collection and tyre recycling

The aim of the plan is to subsidise tyre collection and tyre recycling so that waste tyres do not end up being stockpiled or dumped at landfill sites. This will help to minimise the negative environmental impacts of tyres and conserve resources. In the process the plan aims to create employment opportunities for those in the informal and small and micro business sector.

Increasing the value of waste

Erdmann says that the plan “looks at waste tyres not as waste, but as a commodity,” and that through the implementation of the fee, the collection of waste tyres will become economically viable. It is hoped that this will drive the collection of the 60 million waste tyres that are presently stockpiled in South Africa and drive the tyre recycling market. Erdmann further explains that the plan promotes the collection of tyres in the informal sector as collectors will be paid more for collecting tyres than they will get from recovering steel through burning tyres. 

Education awareness

The plan advocates avoidance and reuse prior to recycling and recovery. REDISA are planning to introduce an education campaign on raising awareness around maximising the life of tyres and the option to buy retreads (tyres that have been used before) instead of brand new tyres.  

Progress achieved

Commenting on the progress of the plan Erdmann says that a computer system has been set up to manage the collection of the tyres and administer the entire programme. All the major tyre producers and importers have registered with REDISA and REDISA is educating the smaller organisations to register as well, says Erdmann. At this stage the collection depots are not in operation says Erdmann.  The planned depots will be placed close to the areas where waste tyres are being generated to minimise on transport costs. There are a few tyre recyclers currently operating that account for a small portion of the total waste tyres being generated, and more will be established over the next year or two, says Crozier. Dealers, recyclers and transporters are invited to register online with REDISA.

International comparisons

Erdmann adds that the Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan has received compliments from the French and Danish, who run similar plans in their own countries. France runs a producer responsibility programme where it is voluntary to pay the levy on new tyres. “Approximately only 70% are compliant, with about 30% ‘free-riders’, which distorts the competitiveness of the market” says Erdmann, “and the recyclers get less money”.  South Africa’s Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan ensures that everyone pays and levels the competitive landscape, says Erdmann.

For more information contact REDISA on info@redisa.org.za.

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Amanda Botes