The ban on sending used tyres to landfill looms ever nearer and is due to be implemented in England and Wales within the next week.
Environment Agency (EA) head of waste regulation Liz Parkes said: “From 16 July, regulations will ban used whole and shredded tyres from being disposed of in all landfill sites.
“Over 48 million tyres were scrapped in 2004, with around a quarter of these going to landfill sites. The tyre industry has responded to the requirements of the ban and recovery capacity has been increased steadily from 1995 to an estimated 95% in 2005.”
Other established uses include turning them into office stationery like mouse mats, bookmarks and coasters or even recycling the rubber to make carpet underlay.
Parkes added: “Our overall aim is to ensure the continued safe management of waste tyres after the ban on landfill disposal comes into effect.
“The EA will take a pragmatic and proportionate approach to enforce the regulations, and take action against those who deliberately abuse the rules and fly tip or allow tyres to be disposed of in landfills.”
Operators have been reminded that with the exception of large tyres from agricultural or heavy plant vehicles with a diameter greater than 1400mm and bicycle tyres, all waste items fall under the new legislation.
Tyres can still be used for landfill engineering however, and new tyres or manufacturing rejects are exempt from the regulations as the ruling only applies to used tyres.
The EA points out that the industry already has a well-developed logistics network made up of companies that operate nationally and locally, providing a tyre collection service for businesses.
While details can be found at www.tyredisposal.co.uk, www.tyrerecovery.org.uk, and www.wrap.org.uk, it will work closely with landfill operators, waste producers and their trade associations to ensure a smooth transition.