A proposal to list scrap tires as a hazardous waste in an international regulatory agreement went unresolved at a recent meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Strict limits on the exporting of waste items and substances from one country to another are set under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, in effect since 1992.
Brazil had asked that scrap tires be added to the prohibited list, and the issue was contemplated at the April 22-25 meeting.
A technical working subgroup responsible for scrap tires decided they shouldn't be listed as a hazardous waste, according to Harvey Alter, manager of the Resources Policy Department for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and an attendee of the meeting.
However, at the plenary a few countries raised concerns about scrap tire fires, although others championed tires' usefulness in retreading and recycling. Finally, the chairman decided to postpone the discussion.
Scrap tires are of some concern to the convention because they contain zinc oxide, a substance forbidden for export.
The European Community and 97 countries belong to the Basel Convention. The U.S. hasn't joined, but wields sizable influence as the largest non-member.