With the enactment of the Scrap Tire Management Regulations, Saskat-chewan’s tire management program (previously voluntary) has become mandatory. The regulations were enacted pursuant to Saskatchewan’s Environmental Management and Protection Act, and came into force on September 17, 1998. The objective of the regulations is to ensure that used tires are recycled, thereby eliminating tires from the waste stream and minimizing the environmental risks associated with long term tire storage or disposal in landfills.
The voluntary program began in 1996 and was initiated by the Saskatchewan Scrap Tire Corporation. A number of tire dealers participated in the program, which involved consumers paying a recycling fee to the tire retailer, who remitted the fee to the Tire Corp.
The program was made mandatory to ensure the participation of all tire dealers. With the regulations, tire retailers that sell, distribute, offer for sale or supply tires (directly or indirectly) must have a scrap tire collection and recycling program in place or contract with a third party to provide such a service. Retailers have 45 days from September 17, 1998 to comply with the new requirements.
The tire management program, which must be approved by Saskatchewan’s Environment and Resources Management Minister Lorne Scott, requires that: records of the number of scrap tires collected, transported and recycled by the retailer (or person operating the program) be maintained; that a province-wide service for collecting and recycling scrap tires (including those that are stockpiled) be provided; and, that all types of scrap tires be accepted for collection and recycling.
The regulations also require that every retailer operating a tire management program, or every person operating the program on a retailer’s behalf, prepare an annual report (on or before June 30 in each year) describing the program during the previous reporting period, and submit the report to the provincial environment minister.
The reporting period runs from April 1 and ends on March 31 of the following year. The written annual report must include information from the reporting period, including: the number of tires sold; the number of scrap tires recycled (and the manner in which they were recycled); and, the number of stockpiled scrap tires that were recycled (and how). Where a person operates a program on behalf of one or more retailers, the names of the retailers must also be included in the annual report.
Comparison with other jurisdictions
The regulations are very similar to regulations and programs currently operating in Alberta and Manitoba. In Manitoba, for example, the Tire Stewardship Regulation provides for the creation of the “Tire WRAP Fund” to provide for the establishment and administration of a scrap tire waste reduction and prevention program, and to fund the expenditures incurred in the collection, transportation, storage, processing, and disposal of scrap tires.
Manitoba’s fund consists of WRAP levies imposed on new tires. Essentially, a retailer who supplies a new tire must collect a WRAP levy in the amount of $2.80 for the tire from the person to whom the tire is supplied. These WRAP levies are then held in trust by the retailer, who reports monthly to the minister of finance (as an agent for the Tire Stewardship Board). The report must be submitted by the retailer no later than twenty days after the end of the reporting period, and all WRAP levies collected by the retailer during the reporting period must be remitted.
In New Brunswick, suppliers of tires must register with the New Brunswick Tire Stewardship Board and hold a supplier registration unless specifically exempted by the board. Suppliers are required to report to the board the number of tires supplied and such other information as may be required. A fixed fee for each tire supplied must be remitted, with the exception of used tires or tires shipped outside the province. Maximum fees are set out in the regulation and run from between $3 to an amount established by the board, depending on the rim size of the tires.
New Brunswick also has an interesting mechanism in its tire management regulation in order to control the quantity of tires that must be managed within the province. Specifically, there is a provision prohibiting the importation of scrap tires into the province without written permission from the board.
The situation in Saskatchewan is an interesting example of what fuels the debate between those who advocate voluntary initiatives and those who claim that regulatory measures are the only means of ensuring that waste management goals are achieved. It is becoming the case, in these times of fiscal restraint, that companies are finding it increasingly difficult to voluntarily undertake initiatives, particularly when their competitors are not doing so and thereby gaining an advantage. In such circumstances, legislation appears to be the only mechanism to ensure full participation and avoid some of the inequities that result from voluntary initiatives.
It will be interesting to follow those provinces that currently do not have legislated tire management programs to see whether they adopt this strategy in an effort to achieve waste minimization.