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ITIA flags issues with Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme expansion

The Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) has voiced significant concerns regarding the proposed expansion of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Scheme by the Department of the Environment, Climate, and Communication.

While the current EPR Scheme has effectively managed waste tyres from passenger cars, 4x4s, vans, and motorcycles, the industry fears that removing the derogation for truck, agricultural, and industrial tyres without careful consideration could negatively impact Irish tyre companies and broader sectors like agriculture and transport.

The ITIA has assembled a working group consisting of various stakeholders to address these concerns, including the Irish Road Hauliers Association, Irish Farmers Association, the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association, the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, Society of Irish Motor Industry, and the Association of Farms & Forestry Contractors in Ireland.

One of the primary concerns highlighted by the ITIA is the unique economic and supply chain dynamics of the Republic of Ireland, particularly its close ties with Northern Ireland and the UK. Unlike other European states with waste tyre schemes, Northern Ireland does not operate a compliance scheme requiring invoicing of a Vehicle Environmental Management Charge (vEMC).

According to the ITIA, this inconsistency could lead to market distortions and disadvantage tyre operator businesses in the Republic of Ireland, as trade may shift across the border where product and operating costs are lower.

Moreover, the ITIA emphasises the paramount importance of sustainability in the tyre industry, stressing the need for long-term viability and environmental responsibility. Truck tyre manufacturers are continuously innovating to design tyres with multiple lives through practices like regrooving and retreading, aligning with the principles of a Circular Economy advocated in the government’s Waste Action Plan.

Tyre casings have a commercial value at the end of each life cycle through regrooving and retreading, and the EPA has recently adjudicated that tyre casings identified as being suitable for retreading are not waste.

The truck/Agri tyre market differs significantly from the car tyre market, where the waste stream is linear. Car tyres have one life before they become waste. The truck/agri market segment is anything but linear. Truck tyres can have up to four lives, and in the agricultural and industrial sectors, tyres can outlast the lifecycle of certain machinery.

Ireland also has a vibrant export market for agricultural wheels and tyres. Therefore, the need for a compliance scheme that supports sustainability without imposing additional costs or hindering exports is vital, so says the ITIA.

The ITIA and its stakeholders are committed to supporting a compliance scheme that aligns with the circular economy, ensures sustainable tyre management, and effectively addresses non-compliance. The group has engaged with Circol ELT and proposed solutions for revising SI400 to address industry concerns while maintaining competitiveness and sustainability.

According to the ITIA, it is imperative that any regulatory changes consider the unique challenges and opportunities within the Irish tyre industry and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.