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New initiative helps garages demonstrate their environmental credentials

Garages and tyre retailers across the UK are now able to demonstrate their environmental commitment and credentials with the launch of the tyre industry’s ‘Responsible Retailer’ initiative.

The new programme has been designed specifically for retailers and will help them to not only manage their used tyre disposal in line with industry best practice guidelines, but will also help them promote these credentials to motorists, an area which has often been neglected.

“In the UK we generate some 40 million used car and van tyres each year which need to be recycled in a responsible manner,” explains Mike Wilson, president, Tyre Recovery Association. “The industry has already developed robust and effective practices to handle these and we now need to concentrate our efforts and encourage retailers to act responsibly as well”.

The initiative has already received significant backing from those both within and outside of the tyre industry. It is being supported by Motor Codes, the government backed self-regulatory body for the motor industry, as well as the Independent Garage Association’s ‘Trust My Garage’ scheme. The Environment Agency has also been heavily involved in the development and is giving its full backing.

Since 2006, under the Landfill Directive, it has been illegal to send waste tyres to landfill. The UK’s voluntary recycling scheme manages to account for around 80 per cent of used tyre arising, employing them for many applications such as an energy source or even turning them into new products. However, many tyres are still abandoned, illegally stored or exported making them the Environment Agency’s fourth top risk in terms of illegal waste site types.

Speaking about the launch of the Responsible Retailer initiative, Business and Energy Minister, Michael Fallon said, “Improper disposal of used tyres can have a nasty impact on the environment, so I very much welcome the extension of the industry-led ‘Responsible Recycler’ scheme into the wider tyre supply chain. This move encourages greater business transparency and strengthens the joint Government and industry fight against illegal fly-tipping.”

Mat Crocker, Head of Illegals and Waste at the Environment Agency, said, “Illegal disposal of tyres including the burning of tyres can result in significant pollution of the environment and misery for people living nearby. The Environment Agency welcomes this initiative that will better inform tyre retailers, support legitimate business and make it harder for criminals to dispose of tyres illegally.”

Retailers signing up to the scheme will receive annual certification which demonstrates their commitment, a range of educational materials to explain to motorists how they are acting in a proper manner along with other promotional materials such as an e-newsletter and promotional video. A new website has also been launched which includes a postcode driven search facility, helping retailers find a local collector, further information about the initiative, as well as a list of garages who are signed up to the Responsible Retailer programme.

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