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scrap metal

Product stewardship - sustainable scrapping

MTA, like other environmentally concerned Kiwis, is hoping 2019 may finally be the year that Tyrewise gets across the start line, and other auto products are more sustainably disposed of.

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The regulatory stewardship scheme has had industry-wide support for several years, but it’s been on hold since 2015 after the National government failed to progress its introduction.

This month, the current government, starts considering submissions on its proposed six ‘priority products’ for regulatory stewardship under the Waste Minimisation Act. They are:

• tyres • electrical and electronic products (e-waste) • refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases • agrichemicals and their containers • farm plastics • packaging (beverage packaging, single-use plastic packaging).

MTA Chief Executive Craig Pomare (above) says “It’s been a long drawn-out and repetitive process to get to this point. This is the third round of consultation there’s been, so hopefully it’s third time lucky.”

He says MTA is very supportive of any move to reduce waste and improve the safe disposal of all end-of-life auto products – particularly tyres. “Ideally, we’d like to see bumpers, oil and fuel filters, car bodies, and everything else recycled or re-used.”

He says industry is quite prepared to pay the initial fees involved in regulated stewardship schemes. These fees are often recoverable from customers and cover the final, environmentally sustainable disposal of the product. Regulation also means everyone plays by the same rules, unlike a voluntary scheme where the cost is borne by those doing good while others undercut their pricing through poor environmental practices.

“We are hopeful, that because Tyrewise is so far advanced in its planning, and has total industry support, that it may be implemented very quickly. With waste tyres mounting up by the millions each year, we can’t afford to wait any longer.”

The Government has given itself two years, until 2021, to finalise the details on each product group before introducing regulations. MTA has made its submission, supporting the six priority products, and calling for urgency on introducing Tyrewise.

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Advocacy & Strategy Manager Greig Epps says the move toward priority products provides an opportunity to take a holistic approach to stewardship within the auto sector.

“Instead of having separate levies for tyres, yet another for bumpers, one more for oil filters, another for refrigerants and so on, there is an opportunity to look at whether they should all be covered by just one levy. Perhaps charged when the car crosses the border.” He says such a move could slot in with the Government’s proposal for a Clean Car feebate programme to reduce CO2 emissions.

“There may be possibilities for the backroom technology and systems to piggy-back off each other. At the very least, within the auto sector, we should use just one administrative system for the different auto- stewardship schemes.“

The Chair of Auto Stewardship New Zealand (ASNZ), Mark Gilbert agrees. When the Tyrewise project had been fully developed, ASNZ was set up to provide a channel for other, future stewardship schemes within the sector.

“Trustees include MIA and VIA and the intent was that it should be a conduit for the introduction of future schemes - so that we don’t waste time and money on processes that deal with the same stakeholders.” Mark said the development of Tyrewise built up a lot of competence, knowledge and accountability within the sector and this should not be wasted. “A sector wide stewardship organisation would also provide government with just one entity to deal with.”

Going greener

There is a world-wide movement to reduce the effects of climate change and businesses, and product stewardship, play a major part in this. Consumers too are increasingly demanding sustainably-produced goods as people move to more environmentally-friendly ways of living.

Greig says MTA, as a brand, and a network of businesses, have a lot to gain from being part of the push for a cleaner, greener world.

“We need to be seen as part of the solution, not just part of the problem. Today’s customers value, services and goods that can show they use sustainable principles in their day to day activities. Research is emerging to show that more and more people are choosing to use a service or a product based on how ‘green’ it is. We can’t afford to be left behind.”