10 August 2017 by Elizabeth Slow

SEPA announces partnership to tackle waste tyres

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has announced a partnership with Entrepreneurial Scotland, to encourage businesses to find ‘environmental’ solutions for using waste tyres.

According to the Agency, around 100 tyres are turned into waste every 15 minutes in Scotland and an ‘environmental solution’ is needed to ensure that they do not create a waste problem.

waste tyres

Attendees at the “Global Tyre Challenge” morning breakfast session

The new partnership announced at the “Global Tyre Challenge” event last week (2 August), set a challenge for entrepreneurs to find sustainable new business opportunities for waste tyres over the next five years.

Sector Plan

Alongside this, SEPA said it has committed to developing a specific Sector Plan that will set targets and actions to directly tackle waste tyres and criminal behaviours, such as illegal dumping.

According to SEPA, its Sector Plan, which is currently in development, aims to improve data and understanding of the waste tyre supply chain, which includes improving understanding of where tyres end up.

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, a spokesperson for the Agency, said: “At the moment we understand that some waste tyres are recycled or recovered in Scotland. For example, we know that some are used in landfill engineering for drainage purposes and that some are shredded for use in equestrian arenas. A limited amount of waste tyres are also used as a fuel source for cement kilns in Scotland.”

“This is an exciting move from SEPA and partners, not only to tackle the significant problems created by unwanted waste tyres, but to look at opportunities for new business development, through a circular economy approach.”

Iain Gulland
Zero Waste Scotland

The spokesperson explained that a large portion of Scottish waste tyres are believed to be transported to England and Wales where there is a ‘bigger market’ for engineering uses, remanufacturing and use as a fuel.

The spokesperson added: “A proportion of Scotland’s waste tyres may be exported abroad for recovery.


“The sector plan which we develop over the coming months/years will look to bolster our understanding of the industry and the primary disposal routes.”

The initiative in partnership with Entrepreneurial Scotland, will work with the Saltire Fellowship Programme, a six month, leadership development programme for ‘entrepreneurially-minded’ individuals.

According to SEPA, this year’s Saltire Fellows will explore new ventures that can actively turn waste tyres into viable business opportunities. The agency said this will ‘significantly enhance’ SEPA’s own traditional approaches to regulation and provide proactive solutions to some of the biggest environmental challenges facing Scotland’s economy.

Speaking at the announcement, SEPA’s chief executive, Terry A’hearn, said: “The most prosperous businesses in the 21st century will embed the importance of a circular economy at the heart of their operations and will be purpose driven to seek opportunities which bring profitability through environmental innovation.

“The partnership between SEPA and Entrepreneurial Scotland taps into the most creative assets at our disposal to find some truly innovative approaches to reduce or reuse the number of waste tyres circulating in our economy.”


waste tyres

(l-r) Martin Tangney, founder and president, Celtic Renewables; Louise McGregor, head of circular economy, Zero Waste Scotland; Terry A’Hearn, CEO, SEPA; and, James Stuart, managing director, Entrepreneurial Scotland

James Stuart, managing director of Entrepreneurial Scotland, added: “Partnering with SEPA is a fantastic example of how collaboration can solve real challenges and support Scotland in becoming the most entrepreneurial society in the world.

“The businesses of tomorrow will need to be much more resource efficient going forward and we believe that entrepreneurial thinking will be the key to unlocking Scotland’s potential and the way to successfully address some of our, and the world’s, biggest challenges.”


Iain Gulland, chief executive for Zero Waste Scotland, said: “This is an exciting move from SEPA and partners, not only to tackle the significant problems created by unwanted waste tyres, but to look at opportunities for new business development, through a circular economy approach.”

The “Global Tyre Challenge” took place at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre, and brought together waste experts, business innovators and entrepreneurial leaders with SEPA, Entrepreneurial Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland.


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