The 3rd edition of the Rendez-vous de l’industrie du pneu hors d’usage was held in Drummondville on May 11.
This gathering of industry people was an opportunity to take stock of the Quebec scrap tire management program managed by RECYC-QUÉBEC.
Environmental advisor Louis Gagné drew up the 2022 balance sheet for the collection and processing of tires, most of which are recovered from tire and mechanic centres.
A total of 99,317 tonnes of used tires were collected and processed last year, 75% of which were light vehicle tires.
This represents over 8 million scrap tires.
Of this total, 83% was recycled and 17% used for energy recovery.
A survey on public perception
A study report on the same programme was also made public during the event.
The purpose of this study was to establish a baseline for the management of scrap tires, to draw up a portrait of the population’s habits with regard to car tires, to measure awareness of the program and finally to measure perceptions with regard to remoulded tires and the environmental fee perceived when new tires are sold.
The study presents some very interesting data on consumer behaviour.
Thus, when the time comes to change tires, 95% of respondents indicate that quality is an important criterion in their choice.
Secondly, 80% say that price is an important factor.
A total of 59% of those surveyed said that they always buy their tires from the same place, while 82% said that they inform themselves before buying them.
Finally, 59% of consumers consider that environmental responsibility is an important criterion in their choice.
The survey also shows that 74% of respondents make sure their tires are rotated regularly, while 60% say they check tire pressure a few times a year.
Where do used tires go?
Eighty percent of survey respondents report leaving their scrap tires at their shop, 15% at an eco-centre, and 1% report reusing them for other purposes.
It should be noted that the vast majority of respondents understand that the tires recovered from these sources are recycled into other objects or are introduced into the manufacture of new tires.
According to the same survey, barely half of the population seems to know about remoulded tires.
For those who are familiar with them, 49% consider them to be as good as regular tires, this percentage drops to 31% for electric vehicle users.
Of all respondents, only 36% were aware that RECYC-QUÉBEC manages the tire recovery program.
Regarding the perception of an environmental fee for the purchase of new tires, more than 60% of respondents are in favour of paying a little more to ensure their recycling at the end of their life.
The survey exercise was also aimed at retailers, the companies that collect tires for recycling.
An electronic questionnaire was sent to the 6,700 active retailers in the Quebec scrap tire management program.
Almost 65% of the 696 respondents are automotive service shops.
This total is completed by dealers (15%), ecocentres (8.5%), fleet managers (4.2%) and auto parts recyclers (4.2%).
Respondents mention that the quality of the collection service has improved slightly since 2020 and that collection times remain the most problematic issue, despite a clear improvement perceived over the last two years.
An increasing number of retailers are using the web portal, with the percentage increasing from 73.3% to 77.3% in two years.
They appreciate the possibility of tracking their request, receiving an alert when the collection of the tires is scheduled by the carrier and the possibility of managing several drop-off points.
Respondents also reported an increased appreciation of the quality of customer service provided by programme managers, including improved response times from agents.
It should be noted that the rubber extracted from scrap tires supplies a very active sector of the Quebec economy.
The rubber industry in Quebec employs 82 local companies and 6,025 people.
The industry uses this material to make other products (55% of uses), hoses and belts (28%) and tires (13%).
Research and development
The event also gave participants the opportunity to learn more about the Support Program for the Research and Development of Products Derived from the Reuse and Recycling of Scrap Tires.
Thomas Bichindaritz, environmental advisor for RECYC-QUÉBEC, explained that the objective is to increase the quantities of scrap tires that are reused or recycled.
Several research projects are moving forward to achieve this goal.
Seven research projects are already funded by this programme.
This includes the manufacture of training equipment from recycled tires, the integration of 100% carbon black in the manufacturing process, or the incorporation of tire fibers in the manufacture of new products, for example.
Still on the subject of research and development, a new program with a $500,000 budget was announced by RECYC-QUÉBEC.