AMID DWINDLING SERVICE LEVELS
Waste tyres and what to do with them was a key issue when I first entered the South African tyre business some 35 years ago. Fast forward to 2021 and not only has the matter not been resolved, it appears to be getting worse. Scrap tyres are piling up at stores and transport sites, with the Waste Bureau apparently unable to collect and dispose of them as most of their depots are full.
Some dealers are claiming there have been no collections since the second week of January. Dealer A, based in KZN said: “The situation is dire. The entire programme – which is supposed to ensure that scrap tyres do not get resold into the market – is being jeopardised. What are dealers expected to do? We cannot keep scrap casings for a month or more on site!”
“If anyone wants scrap tyres, they are welcome to remove them from our yard,” said another frustrated retailer, Dealer B (also in KZN). “We need to alleviate the pressure on our store. Scrap tyres are piling up, which is not only a fire hazard but also attracts vermin to our premises. The collection system appears to have collapsed totally.”
Gauteng based Dealer C added: “We are pleading for the manufacturers and importers to get involved now. They are the ones paying a levy per kg supplied for collection, so what are they essentially funding? It would be irresponsible of them to adopt the view that once their payment has been handed over to Treasury, their accountability ends there.”
A scrap tyre collector based in KZN also voiced his concerns: “Our disposal sites are full. We cannot pick up any more scrap tyres from tyre dealers. We were advised by the Waste Bureau that we could take 200x 4×4 scrap casings from our yard and transport them to the next depot, but to travel all that way with such a small cargo is not feasible.
We would need to send an interlink truck at a time.” In turn, retailers across the country are coming under fire for not mutilating their tyres ahead of collection, but the situation is so grave that they are allowing anyone, whether officially appointed or not, to remove scrap heaps (many of these tyres are not mutilated), just to be rid of them. As a result, the second-hand tyre market is once again being flooded with dangerously worn.
tyres and being sold to unsuspecting consumers of lower financial means, despite the dangers they pose. In response, TEPA placed a call to the Minister in January, who requested the latest details to be sent to her for consideration. This resulted in TEPA putting out a Survey to some 1600 dealers at the end of January, urging them to highlight their immediate issues and concerns.
“We received a total 271 responses (of which some were duplicates), and despite this being a statistically good response, the further analysis showed a far less onerous result,” stated Hedley Judd, National Director TEPA. “This has been shared with the Minister already and the Waste Bureau have furnished a confidential works programme in this regard. I am expecting a further follow-up from the minister in the very near future.”
The problem appears worse in some areas of the country than others, highlighting once again, the urgent need for a viable Waste Tyre Management solution that will address the issue once and for all. But after all these years, and despite the global call for mankind to halt climate change and strive towards becoming environmentally friendly in the interests of the planet, in South Africa, very little has been done to address our growing scrap piles and industry is growing despondent.
While other nations appear to be well ahead in their drive to find economical environmentally feasible solutions to the problem, we appear to be taking two steps back. Which begs the question, when do we begin taking the matter of disposing of our waste responsibly more seriously? And what will it take for government and industry to arrive at a workable solution that serves in the best interests of all parties concerned?