Tyre Directive: Scrap tyres have become a major headache for the UK and other EU governments. A…

Tyre Directive:

Scrap tyres have become a major headache for the UK and
other EU governments. A European Directive banned landfills on whole tyres in
2003 and shredded tyres by 2006. The option of dumping tyres in major landfill
sites will be closed and new ways will have to be found to dispose of the 13
million tyres that are stockpiled or put in landfills every year in the UK. The
problem is huge. The number of tyres is forecast to increase by up to 60% by
2021 as the number of vehicles rises. Every day, 100,000 tyres are taken off
cars, vans, trucks, buses and bicycles in the UK. It is

Tyre Directive:

Scrap tyres have become a major headache for the UK and
other EU governments. A European Directive banned landfills on whole tyres in
2003 and shredded tyres by 2006. The option of dumping tyres in major landfill
sites will be closed and new ways will have to be found to dispose of the 13
million tyres that are stockpiled or put in landfills every year in the UK. The
problem is huge. The number of tyres is forecast to increase by up to 60% by
2021 as the number of vehicles rises. Every day, 100,000 tyres are taken off
cars, vans, trucks, buses and bicycles in the UK. It is widely estimated that
there are now more than 200 million tyres lying around. By their very nature,
tyres are difficult to dispose of since they are designed not to fall apart
while you are driving along the motorway. Although tyres remain substantially
intact for decades, some of their components can break down and enter the
environment. Environmental concern centres on the highly toxic additives used
in their manufacture, such as zinc, chromium, lead, copper, cadmium and
sulphur. The Environment Agency launched a campaign in 2002 in the UK to alert
the public and industry to the need to prolong the life of existing tyres and
to find new recycling methods. You can find landfill sites that cover an
entire valley, with black as far as the eye can see, said an Environment
Agency spokesman. We have always viewed tyres as a resource, rather than
something to be dumped. The best use of tyres is probably to retread them, but
this is now expensive, and fewer than ever are recycled in this way. According
to the Used Tyre Working Group, a joint industry and government initiative
sponsored by the main tyre industry associations, just 18% of Britains tyres
are retreaded. A further 48,500 tonnes are converted into crumb rubber used
in carpet underlay and to make surfaces such as those on childrens
playgrounds. More controversially, 18% are burnt as a replacement fuel in the
manufacture of cement. This is fast becoming the most popular way of disposing
of them, but it is of increasing concern to environmentalists and scientists.
Tyre burning emits ultra-fine particles that have a toxicity all of their
own, says Vyvyan Howard, senior lecturer in toxicopathology at Liverpool
University. The toxicity is even stronger if this contains metals such as
nickel and tin, which you get when you throw the whole tyre into the furnace.
If the metal content of the particles goes up, then there is going to be an
increasing impact on health. The cement companies deny that they are affecting
peoples health. Meanwhile, the UK sends 26% of its tyres to landfill, far less
than some other EU countries. France sends almost 50%, Spain 58%, but Holland
sends none. The UK is now racking its brains as to how to dispose of the 13
million tyres that accumulate each year. Many believe the onus is on the
manufacturers to produce tyres that lend themselves to greater recycling.

Question What does this Case Study suggest about the
relevance of EU legal decisions to UK businesses and individuals? Give examples
of possible impacts of this Directive involving tyres on both.

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