Ontario, the only Canadian province without a scrap tire stewardship program, may finally now get one, 15 years after its first program failed.
Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen was quoted in published reports that he'd like o establish a scrap tire initiative in the province by the end of the year. His announcement followed closely on the release of the provincial budget for fiscal 2009, which includes $200,000 to
prepare an inventory of the stockpiled tires in Ontario.
Waste Diversion Ontario-the provincial corporation established by the Waste Diversion Act of 2002 to create and oversee recycling programs-and the Rubber Association of Canada have confirmed they have had talks in the past few weeks with the Ministry of the Environment about establishing a scrap tire program in Ontario. What form the program would take, however, is still unclear.
The Liberal Party took the reins of power in a provincial election in October. It was the Liberals who, in 1989, established a $5 fee on each new tire sold in Ontario to fund scrap tire abatement and recycling initiatives.
The fee was unpopular with voters, however, especially after it became apparent that most of the proceeds were going into the province's general fund. Finally, a new government under the New Democratic Party killed the fee in 1993.
Since then, there has been no central plan on how to dispose of the 12 million scrap tires generated in Ontario each year. "Fifty percent of
Ontario's scrap tires are going to the U.S. for tire-derived fuel, and I think that's outrageous," Glenn Maidment, president of the Rubber
Association of Canada, said earlier this year.
Maidment said he had talked to officials of the Ministry of the Environment about a scrap tire program. He said that at Gerretsen's instigation, Waste Diversion Ontario already has established new programs for recycling household hazardous waste and waste electrical materials, and said a scrap tire program was the next logical step.
Maidment is chairman of Ontario Tire Stewardship, an industry board consisting of tire makers and retailers. In 2004, the board presented to Waste Diversion Ontario a scrap tire stewardship program that was later posted on the Ministry of the Environment Web site for public comment.
Among other things, the Ontario Tire Stewardship plan would have established a $3.20 Canadian fee on each new passenger or light truck tire sold in Ontario ($4.80 for commercial truck tires) to fund research and development projects for value-added uses for waste tires and promote
scrap tire processing companies in the province.
So far the Ministry of the Environment hasn't indicated precisely what it wants in a scrap tire program, according to Maidment. "The question ahead is whether the ministry wants to revisit the original plan or go back to Ground Zero and start over," he said.
Discussions about a scrap tire program are still in the very early stages, according to Glenda Gies, executive director of Waste Diversion Ontario. The organization is expecting a letter of intent from Gerretsen instructing it to proceed with rulemaking on a new program, she said.