Taking a New, Determined Route Against Part-Worn Tires
In early October, as usual I attended the UK Tyre Industry Conference 2015 which is presented by the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) as it is always a very informative source of what’s happening in this busy and competitive market.
Predictably, one of the issues discussed was the current problem with the sale of part-worn tires as the NTDA is a prominent campaigner for the ongoing regulation of used tires throughout the UK. In fact, one of the speakers at the conference was Peter Taylor, OBE and Secretary General of the Tyre Recovery Association (TRA), who explained what is currently happening in the UK (and Europe) with regards to the control of part-worns increasingly flooding the market.
Taylor pointed out that this was not a new issue in the market and had been discussed for a number of years and was in fact a global problem that just will not go away. The TRA has lobbied the UK government since the early 1990s and over the past 20 years or so has only achieved partial success. He says, “Obviously, the popular course of action would be to get part-worn tires banned, but that is not possible as the government will not approve an outright ban of these tires for a number of technical and commercial reasons.
“So I believe it is time to move on, come to terms with the situation and tackle the issue in the most productive way possible. I really feel that by working together as an industry we can positively address the problem in a professional manner through the implementation of best practice procedures and eradicate most if not all of the issues involved.”
I ask myself, is this possible? Well Taylor certainly seems to think so, and pointed out that the TRA intends to try and take the “emotion” out of the problem and replace it with “practicality” and see how the industry can help itself find a solution.
He then went on to list the issues being caused by part-worn tires which are primarily centred around their unsuitability for the road in most cases. Adding, “Let’s not forget that not all used tires are considered unsafe or dangerous, but there is a real need for these tires to be properly monitored. So let’s do something about it now!”
Under Taylor’s direction, the TRA’s proposal is to introduce an audit-regulated evaluation of every used tire currently being handled in the marketplace. This means all tire retailers, vehicle dismantlers and independent importers of part-worns would be required by new legislation to carry out a detailed inspection of all used tires they remove from vehicles. Such an inspection would access the recycling potential of part-worn tires and determine what each tire is best suited for.
In effect, each tire outlet and business would become completely accountable for following “best practice” procedures for every single tire it handles and deciding on its future capabilities.
If used tires are considered OK for continued use on a vehicle, then they can be approved for sale as “creditable” part-worn tires following a further, more detailed inspection for tread depth and validation. However, if on initial inspection a tire is found to be unsuitable for further use on a vehicle, then it must be prepared through the correct channels for the recycling process.
Taylor continues, “Through this proposed, uncomplicated, new tire inspection system we can ‘up the ante’ and actually take the fight to the perpetrators as tires are our reputation and industry. We definitely need to take care of the situation and control the future use of only approved part-worn tires. It really is that simple and straightforward.
“We must be seen to be adopting the moral high ground on this important issue as it sends out a clear message of our commitment to future tire safety.”
It seems to me that Taylor and the TRA’s message is quite clear that the UK (and European) tire industry needs to stop whining (moaning!) and relying on a legal ban and do what the UK/European tire industry has always been able to do and help ourselves. ■
John Stone has been working within the global tire industry for the past 23 years. In 2004 he launched his own consulting company, Sapphire Media Services, which caters to business media clients around the globe. Stone also writes for tire and automotive-related publications in Europe, South Africa and Asia.
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