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News   September 28, 2012   by CARS Magazine

2012 Rubber Recycling Symposium Fast Approaching

The 2012 Rubber Recycling Symposium is a biennial event promoted and organized by The Rubber Association of Canada with able assistance from the Rubber Manufacturers Association in the United States. Both organizations are primarily funded by...


The 2012 Rubber Recycling Symposium is a biennial event promoted and organized by The Rubber Association of Canada with able assistance from the Rubber Manufacturers Association in the United States. Both organizations are primarily funded by tire manufacturers. The first such event was held in 1994. Our host sponsor this year is Ontario Tire Stewardship.

 

Objective

The purpose of the event is much the same as its predecessors: “to promote and encourage rubber recycling by sharing technical and educational information and demonstrating practical applications for recycled rubber.”

 

Our theme this year, A Balancing Act – Seeking Equilibrium Between Social Objectives and Economic Realities, is intended to explore the relationship amongst the key partners in this venture, ie. brand owners, the stewardship organizations, processors, transporters, rubber recycling manufacturers and, of course, government. More to the point – is the economic pie sliced just right, or are there inequities that must be addressed to deliver a more balanced, fairer tire stewardship program? Given we have expert presenters from all facets of the industry, we are confident the debate and learning will be exceptional.

 

The Audience

Our previous rubber recycling events have attracted between 250-350 people, primarily from North America, though it is not uncommon to have attendees from around the globe. Many delegates are entrepreneurs, who come to learn about leading edge technologies and market trends in rubber recycling. Others come from a variety of sectors including Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs), Government, Academia, Industry Consultants, Environmentalists and Rubber Manufacturers. These are the decision-makers and movers and shakers within this sector.

 

The Speakers

The committee charged with development of the program looks for speakers with hands-on, real-life experience with rubber recycling applications. Our speakers have that knowledge and experience. Each speaker contributes a copy of their presentation to the development of the proceedings, which adds immeasurably to the body of rubber material in Canarecycling knowledge.da is considered provincial jurisdiction, some provinces employ a tax-based approach such as Quebec and PEI, while others have moved to an EPR funding model, or a hybrid approach.

 

The Exhibition

Though modest in size, there is an opportunity for a select number of exhibitors to showcase their rubber recycled products and services.

 

Backgrounder to 2012 Rubber Recycling Symposium 

Over the past twenty years or more tire recycling has become a large and very important business, driven in part by government edict and in part by innovation and entrepreneurship. Interestingly, the industry has enjoyed relative success in three very different economic models: free market, tax-based and EPR (extended producer responsibility), and some variations or hybrids thereof.

 

This Symposium will have speakers representing all three funding models. The Free Market approach is generally employed in the U.S. and some European countries such as Germany and U.K., though many countries in Europe now support the EPR approach. Because waste

 

The theme, A Balancing Act – Seeking Equilibrium Between Social Objectives and Economic Realities is, in part, a discussion of the relative merits of these three primary funding models. In the Free Market approach, there is often a small tax ie. $1.00 per tire which goes to the State to manage abandoned tire stockpiles, but otherwise the free market causes scrap tires to be picked up from tire retailers by local haulers (who receive a fee from the retailer, which the retailer charged the consumer who left their old tires behind). The hauler then seeks out a scrap tire processor, or some other end user, such as a cement kiln etc. which will often charge the hauler a ‘tip fee’ to receive the tires. If no reputable option exists, the tires may well end up in an abandoned stockpile.

 

The European approach to end-of-life waste management, not only tires, but for most products is the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility, aka EPR. The premise being that the original manufacturer of the good must ultimately take responsibility for the end-of-life costs. The concept being that if the manufacturer adds the environmental cost to his products, he will be encouraged and pre-disposed to reduce these costs just as he naturally tries to reduce all his other costs. For example, he may redesign his product to minimize its environmental cost or reduce the packaging the product comes in.

 

In Europe, the tire industry took up the EPR challenge and created country-wide not-for-profit agencies which they collectively owned and managed a
nd then hired experts to cause the scrap tires to be collected and processed. Because the tire companies are actual shareholders in these enterprises, they have a natural bias to see the costs of tire recycling go down, which is happening to some degree. That said, the agency which runs the tire program receives its funding based on an eco fee which the tire retailer receives from its customer when a new tire is purchased.   

 

The situation in Canada is different yet again, though leaning more to a hybrid EPR funding model whereby tire manufacturers aka Brand Owners and/or First Importers, participate in the creation, development and operation as board members of a not-for-profit tire stewardship agency, but hold no share capital in the organization. The revenue to support the operations again comes ultimately from eco fees which consumers pay when they purchase new tires. From a tire recycling cost perspective, the Canadian model pays substantial premiums to tire recyclers than both the European and U.S. approach. In part this is a function of relative size and the need for each province ‘to do their own thing’ owing unique regulatory requirements and lack of economies of scale and reduced competition. But it is also seen by many in the Canadian stewardship realm as an opportunity to invest in a sector that has traditionally been under-funded. One could certainly make the case that there is evidence the Canadian approach is yielding more capital investment and productive capacity. Now the question is – should we be doing more, or less? Hence our theme, A Balancing Act…and just to be a little provocative, keen observers will note the scale is tipped slightly in one direction. 

 

 

The final program link is here at www.rubberrecycling.ca


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