Withdrawal of South African waste tyre recycling plan

The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) has welcomed the withdrawal of approval for the Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa’s (Redisa’s) waste tyre recycling plan.

In a statement issued on Friday, IWMSA president Stan Jewaskiewitz expressed concern over the process followed to approve the Redisa plan, “especially in light of the fact that the South African Tyre Recycling Process Company (SATRP) had also developed and submitted such a plan”.

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa rejected SATRP’s tyre recycling plan, which it submitted under the Waste Tyre Regulations (WTRs).

Acting Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs Minister Collins Chabane this week withdrew the approval of the Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan (IIWTMP) of Redisa, to allow time for more consultation.

The plan was approved by notice in the Government Gazette published on November 28.

IWMSA encouraged its members to engage with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on the IIWTMP, adding that the organisation was willing to assist the DEA in hosting workshops on the issue.

Last week, Democratic Alliance water and environment spokesperson Gareth Morganalso voiced concerns about the Redisa plan, saying Molewa might have defied sections of the WTRs by failing to publish the plan in the Government Gazette for a period of 30 days or bring it to the attention of relevant organs of State and interested persons.

The Redisa plan would impose a levy of R2.30/kg on new tyres manufactured in or imported into South Africa from February 1 to pay for the collection and recycling of waste tyres from illegal dumps and caches around the country and gather them at central depots from where disposal would be managed.

Morgan argued that the Minister failed to conduct a regulatory impact assessment to determine what the tyre levy would cost the industry and what the related impacts on the industry would be.

He said the waste tyre recycling plan would cost significantly more than any job creation benefit, owing to the intended establishment of a complex bureaucracy of up to 150 costly collection sites around South Africa, which would not be sustainable.

Morgan also expressed doubt about whether the employment of informal waste tyre collectors would amount to ‘decent employment’, asking what would happen to the workers once the stockpiles had been cleared.

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