Tyre Recovery Association Unveils Election Manifesto for Sustainable UK Tyre Recycling

The Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) has launched its election manifesto today, outlining a comprehensive plan for reforming UK tyre recycling regulations. As the general election campaigns intensify, the TRA's manifesto offers British political leaders a clear and actionable agenda for the next government, regardless of which party secures victory.

Tyre recycling in the UK is pivotal to establishing a circular economy and fostering sustainable economic growth. Responsible tyre recyclers play a crucial role in recovering key manufacturing materials, reducing the need for virgin resources in which Britain is deficient.

British operators, committed to responsible practices, have voiced increasing frustration over outdated regulations and the slow pace of change. Rogue operators continue to thrive, while domestic recycling capacity remains underutilised. Recent statistics from Indian tyre manufacturers highlight the UK's growing dependency on exporting its environmental responsibilities. Despite the government's commitment six years ago to ending the T8 exemptions regime, it persists, allowing irresponsible tyre traders to exploit loopholes.

Additionally, export protocols are frequently ignored. The proper completion and follow-through of Annex VIIs, crucial for maintaining producer responsibility and good practice, are often neglected. Furthermore, producer responsibility schemes exhibit wide variability, lacking consistent data collection and reporting on all tyres in the market. The forthcoming EU Waste Regulations are expected to increase UK divergence from continental rules, potentially making the UK a gateway for non-OCEM markets. Industry insiders fear this scenario will be exploited by operators willing to skirt the rules. An FOI request revealed that the Environment Agency has only conducted one prosecution in recent years, highlighting a significant enforcement gap.

The TRA manifesto, unveiled today, urges the next British Government and future Environment Secretary to:

1. Properly police the export documentation and in particular the complete process of Annex VIIs.

2. Incentivise public procurement, in particular local authority procurement protocols, to ensure public tender support the circular economy in general and, in particular, RTMs. Specifically advance the use of rubberised asphalt as a sustainable, economic long solution to Britain’s pothole problem.

3. Act on the commitment to end the T8 exemptions and close the loophole irresponsible operators exploit.

4. Follow Australia’s successful example and ban most whole ELT exports by changing export rules to ‘shred only’ to ensure used tyre exporters operate in a rule compliant environment and encourage exporters to deal with responsible, locally regulated importers.

5. Update the UK’s waste shipment regulations to bring them into line with the European Union’s new rules to ensure the UK does not become a dumping ground and irresponsible practices are not further encouraged.  

Peter Taylor OBE, Secretary General of the TRA, emphasised the urgency of these reforms, stating: "The new government has no time to lose. It now has a clear and necessary agenda to implement. Despite the clear benefits and significant opportunities for the UK to reduce its carbon footprint, address environmental damage, and grow its circular economy, the UK needs much stronger policy support to empower responsible operators, strengthen domestic resilience, and reduce export levels.

"The UK tyre recycling industry, represented by the TRA, looks forward to engaging with the new Environment Secretary and continuing our collaboration with DEFRA, the Environment Agency, and parliamentary committees scrutinising government progress.

"By implementing the vital reforms set out in the TRA manifesto we are launching today, we can all work together to further contribute to the goal of creating a Circular Economy, safeguarding our environment, increasing producer responsibilities, and reducing the export of CO2 emissions."

The TRA's manifesto sets a clear path for the next government, emphasising the need for immediate action to support sustainable practices and protect the environment, ensuring that the UK's tyre recycling industry can thrive while meeting its environmental responsibilities.

Tyre Recovery Association Unveils Election Manifesto for Sustainable UK Tyre Recycling
Tyre Recovery Association Election Manifesto for Sustainable UK Tyre Recycling
June 19, 2024
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