ELT: a new decree now in force
After years of waiting, the new decree by the Ministry of the Environment on the management of end-of-life tires came into force last April. In fact, Decree no. 182 dated November 19, 2019 ("Regulations governing the timing and methods for implementing the obligation to manage end-of-life tires, pursuant to article 228, paragraph 2, of Legislative Decree no. 3 April 2006, n°152) was published
After years of waiting, the new decree by the Ministry of the Environment on the management of end-of-life tires came into force last April. In fact, Decree no. 182 dated November 19, 2019 ("Regulations governing the timing and methods for implementing the obligation to manage end-of-life tires, pursuant to article 228, paragraph 2, of Legislative Decree no. 3 April 2006, n°152) was published in the Official Gazette on April 8, 2020, which supplements and updates the provisions introduced in 2011 with Decree no. 82 dated April 11, 2011 ("Regulations for the management of end-of-life tires (ELTs), pursuant to article 228 of Legislative Decree no. 152 on April 3, 2006, n°152 as amended and supplemented, containing provisions on environmental matters"). Existing parties authorised to manage ELTs, whether in an associated form such as management consortia or individually, will have until 23 October to submit to the MATTM the documentation necessary to confirm such authorisation, which - if granted - will compel them to implement the new protocol, in line with the new indications, from January 1, 2021. The new decree will thus be operational to all intents and purposes, and it will be possible to see the practical effects of the changes made by the Ministry, with the aim of making the entire ELT collection process more efficient, filling the regulatory gaps emerged over the years.
Decree n°182 what will change?
There are several important innovations introduced, starting from online tire purchasing: with the establishment of the "Authorized Representative", tire manufacturers and importers with registered offices abroad (such as web platforms from which irregular tire flows often originate) are bound to have a legal representative in Italy, responsible for the mandatory management of ELTs. This measure, therefore, applies the principle that, whoever places a tire on the market has the obligation to manage the corresponding ELT. The goal is to curb irregularities often the cause of the large gap between tires placed on the market and tires covered by the environmental contribution.
Another very important element concerns national coverage, as the new decree introduces the obligation to collect ELTs on the whole national territory (excluding individuals who collect up to 200 tons per year), reporting to the Ministry the quantities collected every six months according to the geographical macro-areas identified by the Decree itself. This should counteract the tendency to favour the most accessible or larger generation points, and therefore less expensive to serve. The six-monthly mandatory collections are divided between a few Italian macro-areas, and each one is assigned a percentage of tons to be collected, i.e. 11% for Piedmont - Valle d'Aosta - Liguria, 15% for Lombardy, 12% for Trentino Alto Adige - Friuli Venezia Giulia - Veneto, 8% for Emilia-Romagna, 11% for Tuscany - Marche - Umbria, 13% for Lazio - Abruzzo - Molise, 9% for Campania, 10% for Puglia - Basilicata - Calabria, and 11% for Sicily - Sardinia.
A further contribution towards greater efficiency should also come from the new obligation to manage ELTs corresponding to the types of tires placed on the market the previous year. Here too, some operators had the tendency (despite selling large tires) to prefer the collection of mid-sized and small tires over larger sizes, which are more expensive to manage.
The new Decree 182 seeks also to guarantee greater transparency in the final balance of the tires placed on the market: operators will have to declare not only the weight but also the number of tires placed on the market, while their classification went from eleven types to fifteen, subdivided only according to weight, just to allow a more precise calculation of the ELT collection targets in terms of tons. As regards the environmental contribution, the new protocol states that any economic surplus at the end of the year must be used to reduce the environmental contribution on the purchase of new and used tires imported the following year, and not only for extraordinary measures to manage abandoned ELTs as was the case until now. Furthermore, the Decree makes clear that it is compulsory to respond to ELT collection requests by tire dealers on the basis of their order of arrival, without giving preference or priority to any particular generation points or brands, thus separating those who sell tires from collection activities, to avoid that a collection service will support the activities of a specific consortium member.
An element of equality between associated entities and individual subjects has also been introduced. The latter will also be required to communicate and inform the Ministry, to demonstrate the presence of a structured system to manage ELT collections, as well as the obligations to collect ELTs throughout the national territory.
The obligation to increase the amount of ELTs collected was also confirmed. Already in 2019, this had increased from 90 to 95% of the total amount placed on the Italian market, while, again to ensure greater transparency, the "National Register of Tire Manufacturers and Importers" was introduced, which is expected to be established within 12 months of the decree coming into force.
Ups and down according to the consortia
Giovanni Corbetta, General Manager of Ecopneus, is satisfied with the improvements introduced. He commented: "the new structure wanted by the Legislator deals with some operational aspects related to the management of ELTs which, up to now, have often penalized associated entities such as Ecopneus which, due to the considerable quantities of ELTs managed annually, has had to make up for some anomalies in the system over the years. We feel strongly about the mandate of the Legislator and for this reason, we have always given our full support to the Ministry to overcome any critical situation, through a constant dialogue thanks to which it has been possible to reach the issuing of this new regulation on end-of-life tires. There is still work to be done - continues Corbetta – starting from amendments to the associations’ charters to a new grading of the product portfolio, but once fully operational the overall system should improve in terms of efficiency and effectiveness".
Among the consortia, however, some have highlighted the problems that the new Decree 182 has not tackled, thus missing an important opportunity, as Roberto Bianco, president of Greentire, points out: "in terms of circular economy, we register only a small step forward with the inclusion, in Annex IV; the obligation to indicate the management results, together with the amount of material actually collected. Moreover, the Decree does not indicate either the minimum parameters to be met, nor the rewarding criteria that would have been in line with the waste hierarchy". As far as the percentage breakdown of collection volumes established by macro-areas is concerned, Bianco pointed out that even though the measure aims to guarantee a homogeneous service, in reality the operators will have to deal with some discriminating factors such as seasonality (winter tire change is much higher than in summer) and the mileage recorded by registered cars.