Ontario authorities threaten tire producers and automakers with fines of up to $200K CAD
According to CBC News, Ontario’s Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority (RPRA), which oversees recycling in the province, may soon impose fines of $200,000 or more on the province's tire manufacturers.
According to the agency, the five companies in Ontario that collect and recycle end-of-life tires are all not in compliance with provincial legislation. The orders allege that throughout the province, the industry is not providing enough sites that collect used tires.
The orders are significant because they include threats of financial penalties that could hit any or all the companies that bring tires into Ontario. That includes the big-name tire manufacturers, such as Goodyear, BFGoodrich, Michelin and Pirelli, as well as the major auto makers, such as GM, Ford, Toyota and Honda.
The government wants to keep tires out of landfills since they are one of the single largest sources of waste. The most recent year for which statistics are available is 2021, when producers gathered 156,000 tons of used tires. That's the equivalent of 14.7 million passenger vehicle tires.
According to a statement from the RPRA, it warned tire manufacturers about "shortfalls" in their collection system a year ago. The agency says a sample of sites that are supposed to collect used tires found that 35% weren't actually doing so.
The agency claims that of the sites that do accept used tires, half of them charge customers a fee to collect them and half reject tires on rims, both of which go against provincial regulations.
The orders give the producers two months to prove through an external audit that their collection system complies with the rules. If they fail to do so, the orders say the companies could face penalties of up to $200,000 plus what's called "economic benefit," the money they saved by not complying.
The largest of the five tire recycling organizations in Ontario is called eTracks Tire Management Systems. It represents all of the major brand-name tire manufacturers, all the auto makers and some auto importers, making it responsible for some 80% of the volume of used tire collection in Ontario. Its chief executive, Steve Meldrum, says eTracks will work with the regulator and the other producer organizations to fulfil what's set out in the compliance order.
Meldrum says eTracks has about 6,700 collection sites across Ontario, most of them garages. He says it would be helpful for RPRA to provide more detail about its finding that 35% of sites were not collecting used tires.
CBC News asked the agency to provide more specifics about the findings of its investigation, but officials declined.
They did however point to regulations that require one collection site for every 3,000 people in a municipality, which means Toronto needs more than 900 locations alone.
In 2023, under the terms of provincial regulations, the tire industry is required to collect approximately 16 million end-of-life tires and manage them by either recycling, retreading or reuse.
As part of legislation brought in by the previous Liberal government, tires became the first material subject to what Ontario calls individual producer responsibility, starting from 2019. The law requires companies that make or import such items as tires, batteries, light bulbs and computers to be accountable for collecting their products at the end of their life cycle and managing their reuse, recycling or disposal.
Source: CBC News.