The first decade of the millennium was a formative one for both the Responsible Recycler Scheme and the TRA itself. The RRS is now ten years old and the TRA itself grew out of that early success of the RRS in 2005.
From that one early member (WTS – now part of Credential) the RRS has 34 accredited members today and the TRA with its affiliates and others a full 40. From the start we faced a unique challenge, how to introduce clear standards of compliance into a business where there were few and where the landfilling of waste tyres was the norm. At the same time, it should be remembered that , the UK government had set it face against statutory producer responsibility.
The advent of the EU Landfill Directive fully implemented in July 2006 was a great spur, so too was the desire of our growing membership to play their part in turning what was a largely unfocused business in to a responsible and high profile industry within the context of the so called ‘free market'.
Of course, there have been difficulties but by and large our approach has been vindicated. We have enjoyed the strong support of our members and of the wider UK tyre industry and today we collectively clear close to 80% of all UK waste tyre arising. In tonnage terms we are also the largest single tyre recovery scheme in Europe.
With all that behind us, what now?
Already, we start 2011 on a roll. The TRA voice is a strong and influential one within the tyre industry itself and with the various arms of government . We are co-operating closely with the Environment Agency waste crime team in its attempts to identify and marginalise rogue collectors. WRAP, the Waste Resources and Action Programme have this time asked the TRA to lead the joint bi-annual review of PAS 107 with the British Standards Institution and have provided us with the funding to do so.
On another level entirely is governments' increasing interest in so-called ‘Responsibility Deals' with industry and the kudos which our own Responsible Recycler Scheme has won. We are actively working with the Environment Agency to see whether the RRS could become one of the very first such flagship arrangements.
Then, there is an increasing European and international dimension to our business in which we will play our part. The definition of end -of-waste status is out of tune with market realities and is in need of revision if markets for processed tyre-derived material are to thrive. We will press for this at every opportunity.
Finally there is the vexed matter of how the countries of Europe go about assessing and monitoring their own individual end of life tyre arisings. We all fail in this respect but some of us more so than others and like that favourite of European cheeses, Gruyere there are a few too many holes. We need much more verification and greater consistency in this process if we are to effectively control the growing trend to internationalisation in ELT recovery.
Our agenda is still a crowded one.