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Tyre recycling law to tackle waste and create jobs

An Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan (IIWTMP) has been approved by South Africa’s Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa

The plan will be implemented and managed by the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA). REDISA is a not-for-profit organisation, independent from the SA tyre industry. The new law is intended not only to support the creation of a sustainable recycling industry to deal with a major and problematic waste product but also – and importantly – to create jobs and foster small and medium sized businesses in communities throughout the country.

The income generated from a rand-per-kilogram levy charged to tyre manufacturers and importers will be used to help stimulate start-up businesses around the collection, transportation, storage and recycling of the waste. It will also be used for research and development, training, monitoring and to benefit communities overall. Additionally, bursaries, a youth board and a huge programme of empowerment interventions form part of the roll-out of the REDISA plan. South Africa is leading the way globally with the REDISA plan, which is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the world.

The South African tyre industry produces more than 10mn scrap tyres every year and it is estimated that anything between 60mn and 100mn scrap tyres are stockpiled in South Africa. Waste tyres pose an environmental problem, both as pollutants and as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and vermin. However, there is as yet no effective technology for disposing of tyres in an environmentally friendly yet economically viable way. The need for research and development, collection and recycling is therefore imperative. The opportunity for generating jobs and new industry businesses aligned to the recycling of waste tyres is of paramount importance.

REDISA aims to remove waste tyres from the South African environment. A levy charged to the manufacturer will effectively subsidise the collection and recycling processes. By giving the tyres a value for recycling, entrepreneurs will be able to build a business out of collecting tyres from their community and delivering them to a collection point.

A network of collection depots and recyclers will be established and REDISA will provide training and support for the SMMEs that respond to the opportunity presented by the initiative. A full programme of interventions will be rolled out by REDISA to inform and advise the trade of its activities, including, for example, a plan to educate consumers about caring for their tyres and promoting the safe and proper re-treading of tyres. By shifting misconceptions about re-treads in South Africa, the aim is to bring South Africa in line with European practice.

The levy is being apportioned according to a specific plan, approved by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and will be managed by REDISA - more details are available on the REDISA website.