TORONTO—Seven years in the making, the Ontario Used Tires Program Plan went into effect Sept. 1, with the goal of recycling 90 percent of the pro-vince's on-road tires and 50 percent of its off-road tires within five years.
Implementing the effort is Ontario Tire Stewardship, an industry funding organization created by the Waste Diversion Act of 2002, which pays for the program through the fees remitted by brand owners and first importers of tires.
Andrew Horsman is the executive director of OTS, appointed June 1. Horsman is scarcely new to the organization, though. He served on its board of directors from its inception in 2002 until 2008.
During that period, Horsman also was regulatory compliance manager for Wal-Mart Canada Inc. He was in charge of all of the mass marketer's corporate sustainability programs as well as regulatory compliance, developing programs to reduce waste and create value-added products from Wal-Mart's recyclables.
Through the years, Horsman also served as chairman of the Environmental Committee of the Retail Council of Canada, and as a consultant to the Committee for Environmental Cooperation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“My participation in the stewardship was essentially what I was trying to do at Wal-Mart,” Horsman said in a phone interview from his office at OTS. “I bring as much knowledge to OTS as anybody on the subject of environmental stewardship. I bring a broad perspective on how these programs work.”
Starting up the program
The Ontario Used Tire Program Plan recognizes five distinct groups associated with scrap tires in Ontario:
—Stewards—tire manufacturers and importers, legally obligated to register with OTS and remit tire stewardship fees on all tires supplied into Ontario to fund the program.
—Collectors—organizations including (but not limited to) tire dealerships, vehicle dealerships and garages that accumulate used tires, thus serving as the entry point for scrap tires into the program.
—Haulers—transport companies that must be registered with OTS, accept scrap tires from registered collectors, and transport them to registered tire processors.
—Processors—companies that take scrap tires and process them into tire-derived products such as crumb rubber and tire-derived aggregate for asphalt, athletic surfaces, playgrounds, etc.
—Recycled product manufacturers—companies that use tire-derived products to make value-added goods, including auto parts, floor mats, carpet un- derlay, mouse pads, and others.
“Ontario is fortunate to have a number of scrap tire recyclers who currently handle approximately 50 percent of the scrap tires produced in Ontario each year,” the OTS Web site states. “The balance of the scrap tires produced in Ontario today are shipped out of the province to a variety of end-uses, including disposal in a landfill or by burning. The Used Tires Program goal is to change this situation so all of Ontario's scrap tires are recycled right here in the province.”
A key first-year effort in achieving this goal is the $20.8 million in funds the program's stewards have contri-buted. The money will be used to create jobs and promote growth in Ontario's scrap tire recycling industry.
“We plan to establish a series of incentives that we will pay applicants once they prove they make and sell a recycled rubber product,” Horsman said. “This will allow them to build their markets. It's an economic development tool, not a price-fixing tool as some have claimed.”
OTS plans four different levels of financial incentives for collectors, haul-ers, processors and manufacturers, according to Horsman. The plan is still being worked out, he said, although the plan rules state that applicants will receive their money within 35 days of proof of sale.
“We're still in Month One of the plan,” Horsman said Sept. 21. “Still, I'd be very surprised if we don't have incentive applicants with proof of sale by Oct. 1.”
OTS has a number of ideas in development on how to advance its goals, Horsman said. One idea he hopes to implement is to work with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to promote the use of rubberized asphalt in the province. A few municipalities in Ontario experimented with rubberized asphalt early in this decade, with good results.
In the meantime, protocols such as the manifest system for registered tire haulers will help ensure the recycling program's goals are met, according to Horsman.
“The manifest program follows scrap tires all the way from their first collection to their end-use customers,” he said. “Our haulers don't get paid unless they can prove they delivered their tires to registered processors. If they delivered them to Buffalo Fuels—and they have the right to do so if they want—they get nothing from us.”
OTS also is making plans for remediation of the province's estimated 2.8 million stockpiled scrap tires.
Currently the Ontario Ministry of the Environment is identifying tire stockpiles in the province and performing “triage” to identify those most in need of cleanup, according to Horsman.
Remediation is slated to begin next spring, with the goal of eliminating stockpiles by the end of the program's third year, he said.
Many of the stockpiled tires may be too oxidized, dirty or otherwise contaminated to serve in the value-added end-uses the Ontario plan encourages, Horsman acknowledged. “We might look at using them as fuel because that's the only thing you can do with them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Horsman is enthusiastic about the prospects for the scrap tire recycling industry in Ontario. Particularly encouraging, the program manager said, is the work of companies such as DuPont in using recycled tire rubber to make thermoplastics and other elastomers.
“Perhaps we can reach a time before too long when tires are like lumber, and people seek them out,” he said. “It's a ways off, but if we're really good at what we do, this program will no longer be needed.”