Wheel weight update
From start to finish, it took only a few months to get the ban on lead wheel weights approved in Minnesota.
State Senate Bill SB 2192 was introduced in early March. After it passed through both the Senate and House of Representatives, it landed on Governor Mark Dayton’s desk.
On May 16, he signed the bill into law. The bill, which expressly prohibits the installation, sale and distribution of lead and mercury-based wheel weights in Minnesota, set a compliance date of Jan. 1, 2016.
“Now that the Minnesota lead wheel weight law has been finalized and signed by the governor, the market can begin to implement the change,” says Gregory Parker, marketing manager for Perfect Equipment wheel weights, a brand of Wegmann automotive USA Inc. “The key to a successful transition is to test the available options and not rush into a specific direction. The state’s 19-month transition period should allow local businesses plenty of time to conduct their own product trials, compare products and suppliers and then decide which direction is right for their company.”
Minnesota is the seventh state to enact a ban on lead wheel balance weights, joining California, Illinois, Maine, New York, Vermont and Washington.
With Minnesota included, the lead regulated states will combine to make up roughly 26% of all registered vehicles in the United States, says Parker. Minnesota already has a state mandate in effect for state-owned fleet vehicles to utilize only non-lead wheel balance weights.
“It is important for the Minnesota market to understand that there are non-lead options like zinc and steel available to them now,” Parker says. “Sometimes new regulations can cause panic and confusion in the market as businesses scramble to make the change.”
The compliance date of Jan. 1, 2016, will allow businesses the chance to deplete their current lead inventories, test the alternatives and train staff on how to use the new non-lead products.
Unlike some of the previous laws in effect, the new Minnesota law will also require that all lead and mercury wheel weights that are removed from vehicles be properly recycled and not allowed to enter the environment, Parker notes.
“Most of the major wheel weight suppliers feature a recycle return program that allows you to return your unsorted used weights.
“All modern wheel weight materials are recyclable and being able to return the weights unsorted makes it easy for the customer,” says Parker.
“Properly recycling your used inventories, regardless of their material type, is the right thing to do for the environment.” ■
States that now ban lead and mercury in wheel weights
States shown in red in the art are states with a lead wheel weight law in place. Each law is for lead and/or mercury wheel weights only and no other materials are mentioned.
States shown in blue are states that have previously proposed a lead and/or mercury wheel weight law but have not enacted a law.
States shown in grey have no wheel weight laws in effect and have never had a proposal for a law.
Illustration courtesy of Perfect Equipment, a brand of WEGMANN automotive USA Inc.
To read the June 2014 issue of Modern Tire Dealer, see our digital version here.