Ocean Legacy Foundation and Tire Stewardship BC join forces to deal with marine tire waste
The Ocean Legacy Foundation (OLF), known for its efforts to clean up plastic litter from oceans and shorelines, is expanding its mission to tackle abandoned tires. OLF, which began targeting tires in 2014, has since removed 4,000 tires from marine environments and sent them for recycling. Tire Stewardship British Columbia (TSBC), Canada’s oldest tire recovery program, is now granting OLF $150,000 over five years to support its cleanup initiatives along BC’s coastline, aiming to ensure that rubber scraps and foam from tires are recycled.
TSBC, operating in one of Canada’s top tire-generating provinces, processes over 5.5 million car tire equivalents annually. Tire Stewardship BC helps tire producers manage their products at the end of their lifespan and ensures that recycled tire materials find new applications. This material goes to Western Rubber, one of North America’s leading whole-tire-to-crumb rubber facilities. The recycled product is used by industry heavyweight North West Rubber to manufacture various products.
TSBC’s extended producer responsibility model and its commitment to achieving environmental, economic, and social outcomes have gained recognition globally. It has been invited to share its program in Australia, and New Zealand is incorporating some of its model components. OLF will use the funding from TSBC to purchase specialized machinery to streamline the process of separating foam from rubber in tires, making the recycling effort more efficient. It will also cover labor and disposal costs associated with managing these materials.
Beyond financial support, TSBC is facilitating OLF’s expansion by connecting it with stakeholders in BC who require assistance with foam-filled tires in marine environments. The agency has made strides in diverting old tires from landfills and boosting the local rubber recycling market through various initiatives, including incentivizing recycled rubber manufacturers and awarding over $6 million in community grants for projects that use recycled tire products. Ocean Legacy’s partnership with TSBC is poised to make the tire cleanup process more efficient and effective as they work toward cleaner oceans.