Illegal dumping of tyres falls as recycling rates increase

Report says border area has proven to be problematic when it comes to enforcement

There has been a substantial reduction in cases of illegal dumping of tyres across the State.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

There has been a substantial reduction in cases of illegal dumping of tyres across the State. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

There has been a substantial reduction in cases of illegal dumping of tyres across the State, with 31,000 tonnes of waste tyres recovered and properly disposed of last year, a report published today states.

With 3.8 million tyres placed on the market during the year, this suggests that there was a 97 per cent recycling rate. The figures coincided with the first year of a scheme to tackle illegal dumping.

Tyres are not biodegradable and can become a fire hazard if disposed of incorrectly. The producer responsibility scheme, which is run by Repak with enforcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was established with a view to gathering accurate data on waste tyres and to promote good practice in managing end-of-life tyres.

The focus of the first year was on passenger car and motorcycle tyres, according to Minister for the Environment Richard Bruton, who published the report. He is to consider extending the scheme to include truck and tractor tyres.

“The results have been very promising,” he said. “We now have detailed data on the tyre market in Ireland. We will now consider the recommendations of the report and consider how best to extend the scheme.”

Recycled waste tyres can be used in creating mulch used in playgrounds, football pitches, horse arenas, gardens and as a weed suppressant.

By the end of last year, only two of 355 tyre producers identified by the EPA remained unregistered, while 2,630 operators joined the scheme operating from 2,832 premises

While there is little data on the scale of illegal tyre dumping, “the border area has proven to be problematic when it comes to enforcement and compliance,” the report notes. There is anecdotal evidence that tyre companies based in Northern Ireland sell directly to retailers in the Republic.

“Retailers who purchase tyres from these companies often fail to meet their producer obligations under the Tyres Regulations,” the report says.

There is little data on the scale of online tyre purchases.

“Online retailing – particularly where it exists in concert with cross-border sales – has created several problems for the functioning of producer responsibility regulatory frameworks,” the report adds.