Illegal used-tyre storage sites span several very large tracts of land in South Africa.

Players in the tyre recycling sector on Thursday welcomed the government's gazetting of a revised tyre recycling plan and the publishing of a levy for new tyres.

The SA Tyre Recycling Process Company's general manager, Ika van Niekerk, said there was now movement on the matter.

“The issue of the tyre recycling plan has been dragging on for more than 12 years. It's not a new issue. Finality on the matter is long overdue,” he said.

Under the revised plan, gazetted by water and environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa in the edition of July 23, motorists will pay R2.30 per kilogram on new tyres.

This will pay for a more efficient method of collecting, recyling and disposing of waste tyres.

An extract from the published plan reads: “This plan will be funded through a per-kilogram levy on tyres manufactured in or imported into South Africa.

“The rand-per-kilogram cost is determined on the basis of all operational and capital costs required to make the plan work and is currently set at R2.30/kg.”

The new levy will take effect from October.

However, Van Niekerk said the publishing of one plan was not sufficient as legal regulations provided for more than one plan. He wanted the government to gazette another.

“We want to be able to choose between the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of SA plan and any other plan. There is another plan, which is in the minister's possession, and we sincerely hope she will activate it,” Van Niekerk said.

In January, the government withdrew its approval for the original waste tyre management plan shortly after announcing it. At the time, the department said the withdrawal would give it an opportunity to attend to procedural requirements stipulated in waste tyre regulations.

South Africa produces nearly 200 000 tons of waste pneumatic tyres annually.

Only five percent of the waste tyres are recycled, according to environmental affairs department spokesman Albi Modise.

“Waste tyres do not compact and are therefore not welcome in landfill sites,” he said. “They are either burnt for the small amount of metal that can be retrieved from them, or are piling up in illegal storage sites, which span several very large tracts of land.

“These sites are a fire hazard and provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.” - Sapa