N.L. to ship old tires to Quebec

Newfoundland and Labrador said Wednesday it will ship an enormous stockpile of old tires to Quebec, where kilns will burn them for energy.
Newfoundland and Labrador has reached a deal to ship used tires to two Quebec companies. (CBC )

The Newfoundland and Labrador government said Wednesday it will ship an enormous stockpile of old tires to Quebec, where kilns will burn them for energy.

The stockpile — which had reached at least 1.9 million tires by last year — has been an environmental headache for the government, which requires consumers to pay for recycling but has until now been unable to find a viable way to recycle them.

Environment Minister Ross Wiseman says N.L. is still studying uses for old tires other than incineration. ((CBC))

In January, Kruger Inc. abandoned a proposal  to burn oil tires to power its Corner Brook newsprint mill, citing widespread opposition in the city.

Environment Minister Ross Wiseman said the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB), a provincial agency that promotes recycling, reached agreements with Holcim (Canada) Inc. and Lafarge Canada Inc.

Both use cement kilns that burn tires for fuel, which Wiseman said is "a widely accepted practice" and which is certified in Quebec.

"The use of tires to generate energy is environmentally sound when used in appropriate applications that ensure complete combustion, have proper air pollution controls, and conduct all required testing, monitoring, and regulatory requirements," Wiseman told the legislature.

That said, Wiseman said the MMSB is still looking for alternative uses for the hundreds of thousands of tires that it continues to collect each year.

"Until these options become more economically viable, we believe exporting the tires to locations where there is a demand is the best option to avoid future stockpiling," Wiseman said.

But NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said she is suspicious that the move will mean a greater carbon footprint in another part of the country.

"Burning is not recycling," said Michael, who added that government has yet to reveal any details on who will pay for the plan.

"Are we just giving them a gift, Mr. Speaker? Taxpayers here pay $3 [to recycle] a tire. Hopefully this isn't to subsidize a business in another province," she said.

The government said the MMSB will soon issue a tender on arranging to have the tires transported to Quebec.