British Columbia officially has privatized its scrap tire management program, handing it over to a not-for-profit tire industry organization.
The new group, Tire Stewardship British Columbia, took over as planned from the provincial government's Financial Incentives for Recycling Scrap Tires program Jan. 1. The change had been in the works since October 2004, when the government issued a new recycling regulation.
On March 30, 2006, the government amended the rule to state that a new tire stewardship plan should be created, with tire manufacturers and retailers in charge of it.
TSBC sent out notices to British Columbia's 2,600 tire retailers, informing them they must register with the program and collect the new Advance Disposal Fees on each new tire they sell, said Glenn Maidment, president of the Rubber Association of Canada and a board member of TSBC.
Retailers may opt out of the TSBC program if they devise their own scrap tire stewardship program and receive provincial government approval for it, according to the TSBC Web site.
The program is still so new that it's impossible to tell if any retailers have chosen to opt out, Maidment said.
``Last week we had about 1,800 retailers signed up,'' he said Jan. 9. ``Our expectation is the 80-20 rule, in which 80 percent of the tires are sold by probably 20 percent of the retailers. There may be one or two small retailers who haven't comprehended what's going on, but we're confident we have all the major merchandisers and retailers in the province.''
Those retailers who haven't registered will soon be in for a shock, Maidment said. Under TSBC rules, only retailers with a TSBC registration number or government-approved private program can get service from accredited tire haulers to remove their scrap tires.
According to the TSBC Web site, the tire stewardship plan is the latest of many private-industry recycling programs established in British Columbia.
``It is based on the principle of `user-pay,' where responsibility for materials and products in the waste stream is borne by the producers and consumers, rather than by general taxpayers,'' the Web site stated. A private used-oil stewardship program was the first to be established in British Columbia, in 1992; it was followed quickly by private programs for paint, medications, solvents, flammable liquids, domestic pesticides, gasoline and beverage containers.
Similar stewardship plans for tires are being prepared in other Canadian provinces, Maidment said. ``Manitoba is poised to make the change sometime in 2007, and we are working with the provincial government to assure a smooth transition,'' he said.
Under TSBC, Advance Disposal Fees will start at $3.39 for every passenger, light truck, motorcycle, all-terrain and free-rolling farm tire sold in British Columbia. The ADF grows to $7.63 for medium truck tires, $12.72 for agricultural drive tires and $29.69 for logger/skidder tires. This is in sharp contrast to the $2.54 the FIRST program levied on every new tire, with a few exceptions, since 1991.
For the last five or six years, the $2.54 fee has been insufficient to pay for the FIRST program, so the provincial government had to add tipping fees that were either added to the price of tires or listed as separate invoice items, according to Maidment. Because of this, he doesn't expect consumers to rebel against the higher rates for the ADFs.
``We're confident these rates will be sufficient for a significant number of years, so we can do more,'' he said. ``They yield a more substantial program.''
All the money collected by TSBC will go to fund new scrap tire programs, including some initiatives the FIRST program couldn't afford, Maidment said,
The new programs will include a public education campaign emphasizing what TSBC calls ``The Three R's-Reduce, Re-use and Recycling;'' a scrap tire stockpile abatement program; and a research and development fund to develop markets for recycled rubber.
There are active tire stewardship programs in every Canadian province except the most populous, Ontario. In 2002, the province's Waste Diversion Act created Ontario Tire Stewardship, an industry group consisting of manufacturers, dealers and association officials.
The group submitted a scrap tire proposal to Waste Diversion Ontario late in 2004, but in April 2006 Ontario's Minister of the Environment said the government would defer any decisions about the proposal until after the October 2007 provincial elections.