Let's Talk Trash - About Tires - May 2022

Hopefully many of you were able to recycle some (or all) of the old tires you’ve had hanging around your place through the recent Tire Round-Up Event sponsored by the qRD and Tire Stewardship BC (TSBC) at the end of April. Because of barge capacity, only 200 tires were able to leave Lasqueti. However, we are still gathering data on how many tires are left on the island so if you have some, please register them with Waste Manager Mark and if there is need, Let’s Talk Trash will advocate for another round-up.


    In BC the first scrap tire recycling program was established in 1991, making it the oldest recycling program in Canada. Over the past 30 years more than a million tires have been recycled in the province. Along the line Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) became a government strategy to shift responsibility for end-of-life product management from the general taxpayer or local government onto the producer and consumers. In March 2006, the BC Ministry of Environment added tires to the Recycling Regulation. Tire Stewardship BC was created to be responsible for collection, processing and management of scrap tires. 

    In BC, all scrap tires collected are also re-purposed in the province. There are two companies located in Delta, Western Rubber Products and Lehigh Northwest Cement, that have helped that happen since 1991 by turning tires into athletic tracks, playground surfaces, recreational flooring, mats and flooring for farms and factories, additives for rubberized asphalt, and even landscaping mulch. BC has one of the highest diversion rates in the country with virtually no stockpiles!

    When you buy new tires you are charged an Advance Disposal Fee (ADF). Most passenger vehicle tires have an ADF of $5. All revenue collected from ADF’s is used exclusively for recycling and program activities. 90% goes to processing and haulers to collect, transport and recycle scrap tires. The remaining 10% is for program management, consumer education, awareness initiatives and a community grant program.

    Most drivers turn their old tires into a retailer when they get new ones. However, you can take in up to four, clean, off-the-rim tires to any retailer that participates in the TSBC program. There are lots of places in Parksville-Qualicum including Canadian Tire, French Creek Shell and OK tires. Also, bike tires have been added to the program. You can now drop them off at participating retailers. Check out tsbc.ca to find the nearest location. 

    That’s the good news about tires and recycling. 

    The bad news is there’s clearly a link between tires and the death of spawning coho salmon in creeks and streams near busy roads in the Pacific Northwest. Salmon face the impacts of climate change directly, constantly and acutely. Coho salmon are listed as either threatened or endangered species depending on where you are. For the past couple of decades, mass mortality events were noticed when returning salmon met stormwater run off in their waterways. 

    In 2021 scientists finally identified the killer chemical. After heavy rains, stormwater flushes bits of aging tires into neighbouring streams. The resulting mix of chemicals from tire wear particulate, especially a molecule related to a preservative that keeps tires from breaking down too quickly, poisons the coho.The common tire preservative molecule (6PPD) is present in all waterways near busy roads and it’s responsible for up to 90% mortality, before spawning, in urban creeks impacted by stormwater. 

    Two options to remediate this problem are: finding environmentally benign alternatives to 6PPD and other chemicals; and building green infrastructure that can treat road runoff before it gets into streams. 

    As a result of exposure to these toxins, salmon can become contaminated with chemicals like arsenic, mercury, PCBs, DDT, and dioxins – including salmon that people consume.  




Many thanks for your post about tires Jenny! I had been planning to use on old tire and rim for a deep water anchor. I'll make sure that the tire is removed. Chris

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