New Zealand's first regulated product stewardship scheme for recycling used tyres, designed and run by Hawke's Bay company 3R Group, will be trialled from August before going live next year.
3R Group general manager of innovation Trevor Tutt said the Tyrewise scheme has been in the works for over a decade to address a market failure for the approximately 6.5 million used tyres that reach end-of-life in New Zealand each year.
"There's no effective management of tyres at the end of their life, there's too many options for easy disposal, dumping or exporting offshore," Tutt said.
He said the industry all came together to help design the scheme, which has become regulated under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 over the last two years to make it mandatory.
"Everyone is really keen, they've been involved with this for quite some time so everyone wants to see this come to fruition," Tutt said.
"This should have awesome benefits for everybody, not least of which are really positive environmental benefits."
The four-month trial is the next step towards implementation, after Auto Stewardship New Zealand Limited's (ASNZ) successful application to the Waste Minimisation Fund - Te Pūtea Whakamauru Para for funding of $1.2 million for Tyrewise.
ASNZ is the governance organisation that oversees funding to its contractor 3R Group.
ASNZ chair Mark Gilbert said they are very pleased to have moved out of the design stage and put plans into action.
"The four-month trial in Hawke's Bay will test all aspects of the scheme design including electronic tracking, audit, and compliance systems from August this year," he said.
Tutt said the trial will involve local collection sites, transport operators and processors, before the products are sent to a variety of end-users.
He said while the market for end-of-life tyres (ELTs) in New Zealand is broadly an immature one, tyre-derived fuel is one use replacing fossil fuels like coal.
The largest portion goes to Golden Bay Cement in Whangarei, which uses ELTs for both tyre-derived fuel and as material for making cement.
Treadlite in Cambridge uses ELTs to make Arena Mix, a surface for equestrian eventing, as well as rubber matting.
Burgess Matting and Flooring in Whanganui also take ELTs for industrial and commercial use, or for mats in playgrounds.
Once the regulated scheme is up and running, Tyrewise will be funded through an advanced stewardship fee, proposed to be charged to tyre importers by New Zealand Customs and tyres on vehicles at the first point of registration.
Tyrewise has set a target of 80 per cent of tyres collected and processed by the fourth year of operation and over 90 per cent by the sixth year.