ELT Management in Canada

Extended Producer Responsibility

The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada is an advocate for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), and has developed a long list of contacts within the rubber recycling community and government circles to help members manage the waste they create. 

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), "Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a strategy designed to promote the integration of environment costs associated with goods throughout their life cycles into the market price of the products".

According to OECD, Extended Producer Responsibility is: 

  • An environmental policy approach in which a producer's responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of its life cycle; 
  • The shifting of responsibility (physically and/or economically; fully or partially) upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities;
  • A program in which producers are required to take into account environmental considerations when designing their products;
  • A program that seeks to integrate signals related to the environmental characteristics of products and production processess throughout the product chain;

Used Tire Recycling Programs in Canada

Today, most industry organizations in developed countries have ELT management programs in place. 

The tire fire in Hagersville, Ontario in 1990 was a pivotal moment which encouraged provinces across the country to create end-of-life-tire (ELT) management programs. In the following year, Canada began to see the creation of legislations and regulations to manage the flow of scrap tires to avoid the creation of stockpiles. Today, used tire recycling programs have been established in each of Canada's provinces to manage and divert the flow of scrap tires from the waste stream. These programs have been created to promote a more sustainable and eco-friendly industry. 

End-of-Life Tire management approaches vary. Three main frameworks of management systems for collecting and recovering ELTs are usually used. These frameworks are explained below according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). 

1. Tire Industry Responsibility

Tire manufacturers, often in cooperation with distributors and retailers, take responsibility under stewardship schemes for the recovery and recycling or disposal of ELTs, and finance these schemes according to the number of units they sell within that country. Most often, a separate fee is charged at the time of original sale, which funds the scheme and increases public awareness of the program. These programs are typically administered by not-for-profit agencies.

Tire manufacturers have promoted ELTs as a resource and consequently have proactively pursued producer-responsibility schemes. ELT management companies organize collection and recovery, participate in research and development activities for new recovery routes, liaise with local authorities, comply with reporting obligations, and promote the introduction of product standards. Stewardship schemes, often with government environment agency involvement, exist in about half of Canada's provinces, in addition to other countries including South Africa, Turkey, Japan, and various countries throughout Europe. 

2. Government/Community Responsibility

Governments have often taken a direct role in clean-up programs, and industry and other stakeholders are frequently involved in these initiatives. Government-administered bodies responsible for ELTs have been established in the half of Canadian provinces not covered by stewardship schemes. These programs are funded by dedicated funds specific for the purpose of scrap tire recycling. 

3. Free Market Approach

A free market approach wherein scrap tire enterprises operate independently is used in countries where suitable infrastructure exists. These companies can arrange recycling and recovery of ELTs with commercial benefits. The US, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand operate on free market principles. In the US, tire manufacturers work together through the Rubber Manufacturers' Association (RMA) to promote responsible management of ELTs and to develop markets for ELTs.