January 19, 2004

Plan proposed for Ontario's first industry-run scrap tire recycling program

A plan for Ontario's first industry-run scrap tire recycling program has been submitted to Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) by Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS). The plan addresses the cleanup of existing tire stockpiles and sets out a funding and operation mechanism designed to eliminate illegal dumping of discarded tires and promote reduction, re-use and recycling of tires in Ontario.

"This is truly a made-in-Ontario diversion plan," said OTS chairman Glenn Maidment. "Ontario has not had a managed scrap tire program for over ten years, and this will be its first industry-run program, so the expectations are indeed high. Ontarians deserve an effective and responsible diversion program, so we've chosen to propose a model which is similar to other successful provincial scrap tire programs, but addresses specific concerns unique to Ontario."

The creation of OTS as an industry funding organization (IFO) was the first step taken by WDO in response to a request by the Minister of Environment last March that it take steps to set up a used tire diversion program for Ontario. The Minister's request called for the plan to be delivered by January 30, 2004. WDO consulted with industry groups in the process of establishing OTS, which represents tire manufacturers, tire retailers and their respective associations.

OTS in turn consulted with affected industry groups including processors, haulers, municipalities, the environmental community and others in the course of developing its plan, which will contribute substantially toward achieving Ontario's target of diverting 60% of all waste from landfill within the next five years. As well, the organization reviewed other scrap tire diversion programs around the world in an effort to deliver a workable plan.

As outlined by OTS, the scrap tire diversion program would initially apply to highway tires: 10.8 million of these are generated annually in Ontario. This works out to approximately 13.6 passenger tire equivalents (PTEs), a recycling industry unit of measurement that takes into account tires of varying sizes and weights.

Of the total PTEs, about 1.2 million, or 12%, are diverted for export or local used tire markets; another 3.7 million PTEs are being exported to the U.S. for use as tire-derived fuel (TDF). Ontario has existing capacity to process some 5.3 million PTEs into shred and crumb rubber for incorporation into various tire-derived products. Scrap tires are also used in fabricated products (0.8 million PTEs), civil engineering applications (0.8 million PTEs) and landfill (1.0 million PTEs). Another 0.8 million PTEs are disposed of by non-verifiable means, including illegal dumping.

The program designates the tire retailer as the product steward and proposes the levying and collection of an advance disposal fee (ADF) of $4.00 per unit for passenger vehicle/light truck tires and $6.00 per unit for commercial tires. The fees will be used to fund transportation and processing credits for diversion operations as well as research and development activities, end-use incentives, and public education and communication.

Over the first five years of the program, funds will also be allocated to support stockpile cleanup, the amounts proportional to the total fees collected. During this initial period, unused stockpile remediation funds from one fiscal year will be carried over to the next year.

The program provides forecasts of scrap tire generation, recycling and consumption, and details the roles and functions of the relevant participants, e.g. haulers, processors and municipalities as well as generators and tire retailers. It includes program performance indicators as well, along with dispute resolution procedures and compliance monitoring and enforcement.

The plan may be viewed on the OTS Web site, www.ontariotirestewardship.ca. More information is also available from Bill Pardu, executive director, Ontario Tire Stewardship, 905/814-1714, E-mail bpardu@ontariotirestewardship.ca.

Meanwhile, a new report by Ontario's brewing industry says its co-ordinated recovery, re-use and recycling program will divert 550,000 tonnes of beer packaging in Ontario this year and save municipalities more than $60 million annually in landfill and Blue Box recycling costs.

The audited report, "Re-use and Recycling Achievement 2002-2003," is the first to be submitted to Waste Diversion Ontario in accordance with a statutory requirement under Ontario's Waste Diversion Act 2002. The Act exempts The Beer Store (TBS, the industry's retail operation) from participation in or financial contribution to Ontario's Blue Box program, in view of its established and successful packaging management system.

The TBS's deposit/refund-based system of recovery, re-use and recycling enables the industry to recover 96% of beer packaging and increases the annual savings it provides municipalities at a time when Ontario is shipping three million tonnes of solid waste to the U.S. for landfill and municipalities are struggling to finance critical local services.

The system accounts for no less than 44% (550,000 tonnes) of the total 1.25 million tonnes of all municipal waste diverted from landfill in Ontario. Highlights of this packaging recovery performance include a system-wide recovery and re-use rate of 97% for the industry standard refillable bottle and a 95% recovery and recycling rate for boxboard and corrugated packaging-making the beer industry the largest single contributor to waste diversion in Ontario.

"Taking responsibility for our packaging means municipalities don't have to cover those costs-they're funded 100% by brewers and their consumers. It means a reduced load on taxpayers and less need for governments to reach into their pockets in the future," said Jeff Newton, president and CEO of the Brewers of Canada, the industry association representing 17 domestic brewing companies across Canada. "In a fiscal environment where municipalities struggle financially to provide critical services, costs avoided are as valuable as revenues found."

As commendable as the industry's waste diversion performance has been, there still remains room for improvement, notes the report. For example, while the recovery rate for refillable domestic beer bottles is 97%, the overall recovery rate for non-refillable bottles (made up almost entirely of imported products, the fastest growing market segment) is 48%. "We believe the lower recovery rate for imported beer bottles can be easily addressed through an extension of deposits to all imported beer containers and by improved consumer education," said Newton.

All imported beer sold jointly by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and The Beer Store (TBS) carries a deposit, and the containers are returned to TBS for recycling. Imported beer sold exclusively by the LCBO, however, carries no deposit. "As a result, some imports have a deposit and some don't; consumers end up confused and recovery rates drop," Newton explained.

Under the auspices of the WDO, the beer industry is working with the LCBO on options for improving the recovery rate for non-refillable beer containers and its associated packaging. "Our goal is 100% diversion and pursuit of the last 4% will be as important as the first 96%," Newton said.

The industry recovery and recycling program is operated by The Beer Store retail system, which in 1991 set an objective of recovering 100% of the packaging it sells. This includes associated packaging (cartons, bottle caps, etc) as well as containers. TBS reported a 91% recovery rate for aluminum cans, a 99% recovery rate for home consumer kegs, a 41% rate for PET bottles, and an 8% rate for steel cans. Together, TBS and the LCBO recovered 95% of corrugated/boxboard packaging, 6% of metal (i.e. beer caps) and 83% of plastic packaging. The report also summarizes the end markets for the various recovered/recycled materials.

The Re-use and Recycling Achievement 2002-2003 report may be viewed on the WDO Web site, www.wdo.ca/content/tbs03_03.pdf.

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