LONDON—Leaves may not be the only things littering the ground this fall.
This autumn could bring a new rash of tire dumping and site abandonment, the United Kingdom's Tyre Recovery Association said in a Sept. 25 statement.
Several factors are contributing to an increase in so-called "fly-tipping" of end-of-life tires. One is higher gate prices—the typical amount charged by recyclers to accept old tires from those providing a collection-only service.
"Gate prices have almost doubled since the start of the year as market conditions have hardened," TRA said. "Indications are that they will remain at these new levels."
Many smaller collectors were slow to recognize the change and now find themselves holding large quantities of old tires they have collected at prices too low to fund current reprocessing costs, TRA said.
Another factor is that the U.K. environmental agency temporarily relaxed storage limits due to COVID-19. That expires on Sept. 30. Operators who used the concession must return to normal permitted limits.
Also, a potential early end to an existing exemptions regime in England and Wales will put further pressure on some operators to "choose between more responsible levels of regulatory compliance or business closure," the statement said.
"These are an exceptional set of circumstances," said Peter Taylor, TRA secretary-general. "We fear (they) will have reputational consequences for our industry and for regulators."
The TRA official urged police and regulators to be "more than ever alert" to the growing danger of abandoned ELTs over the coming months.
The association also urged tire retailers and vehicle dismantlers to meet their legal "duty of care" when passing on wastes such as old tires.