Cyprus Grapples with Waste Tyres


For many years, Cyprus has struggled to get a grip on its waste tyre issues, with a series of ill-fated projects leaving the country with an ongoing issue

The latest estimates suggest that there are 1,000 tons of tyres scattered around Cyprus, posing a significant problem for the environment and public healthThe recent discovery of a pile of tyre waste buried in a plot of land in Limassol highlights the prevailing situation, underscoring the magnitude of the problem. Discarded tyres stand as one of Cyprus’s most serious waste management challenges.

Despite the existing legislation for tyre management, many exploit loopholes and weaknesses in the law to avoid paying the necessary fees for tyre collection and disposal. This includes bypassing payments to the Vasiliko cement factory, by simply tipping them in various locations.

Each year, Cyprus imports 500,000 to 600,000 tyres into its market. According to regulations, importers must pay a recycling fee for each tyre brought in, a prerequisite for customs clearance and tyre acceptance. However, the majority of old tyres in Cyprus are not recycled for material reuse but are burned for energy at the cement factory, which gives rise to complaints about pollution.

The issue of managing used tyres has long concerned the public sphere, with interventions from Parliament and the Auditor General, yet a solution remains elusive.

Sustainable management

The collection of tyres can be achieved through a voluntary or statutory management scheme as can be seen in operation across Europe. The recycling element varies, with around half of tyres recovered going to energy consumption, the others going for some form of material recovery. However, that latter figure is somewhat skewed by uncertain final destinations for tyres exported from Europe, in particular the UK.



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