After rejecting an industry-designed workable product stewardship scheme for end of life tyres, Environment Minister Nick Smith announced today the government would allocate $19 million taxpayer dollars into a false solution instead - most of the funding to go to Chinese-owned company, Waste Management NZ, to collect and shred scrap tyres.
Smith has proposed scrap tyres from throughout New Zealand, will then be hauled to Golden Bay Cement where the owners of the company will incinerate the tyres.
The only problem with this plan is that it won’t work.
New Zealand Product Stewardship Council spokesperson Sandra Murray argues Smith’s solution continues to allow dodgy tyre companies to defraud consumers by charging $5 per tyre recycling fee- without any measures in place to ensure they are actually recycled”.
“This solution, like the current situation, relies on public funding rather than producers taking responsibility.
“What we need is a real solution, one which would see a mandatory product responsibility scheme in place and a levy on purchased tyres - meaning the cost of shredding and re-using tyres is covered by the industry and consumers not the ordinary taxpayer,” she says.
“Such a solution exists and yet it is the same one the minister himself rejected last year, despite the government spending $1 million taxpayer dollars commissioning industry to come up with it.”
If the environmental cost of recycling was built into the purchase price, then it would solve the problem easily, Murray argues.
“Part II of the Waste Minimisation Act has been created to ensure the producer and the consumer can be made responsible for the environmental cost of the products that become waste,” Murray says.
“The Minister could have solved the scrap tyre problem years ago, but he refuses to listen to local authorities, regional councils, environmental groups and the tyre industry.”
“What’s more,” she says, “this plan has no transparency or accountability; and no systems in place for monitoring or ensuring results, as councils simply do not have the resourcing to increase monitoring and enforcement.”
Although no one wants to see tyres piled up in their district, the government is going about this the wrong way by using public money yet again to clean up after industry.
With 5 million tyres worn out every year, a $5 per tyre advanced recycling fee would cover the cost and solve the problem, Murray says, and there would be additional revenue every year to clean up the legacy tyre piles.
“This is not a long-term solution and the wrong people are paying for it,” she says.
For more information please contact
Sandra Murray Co-ordinator NZPSC
m: 021 890 629