Toronto, ON, August 9, 2020 – Only 37% of Ontarians know that, in Ontario, tires are recycled and no longer end up at landfills, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of eTracks. While 14% outright believe this claim is false, 49% have no idea whether it’s true or not.
The survey presented a series of statements to Ontarians who were put to the test about tire recycling. While Ontarians have solid knowledge about some aspects of tire recycling in Ontario, they are lacking in other areas. While most people know that tires shouldn’t be burned, and that playground flooring can be made from recycled tires, for example, only a minority know its false that tires are made up of too many materials to be recycled, that tire manufacturers and automakers are responsible for recycling every tire that is sold, and that the provincial government runs the province’s tire recycling program.
Most (55%) Ontarians are unaware that there is an approximately $4 fee when purchasing car or light truck tires in Ontario. While an additional 20% know about the fee but are unsure about what it is for, only 25% know about the fee and know why it exists. Interestingly, women (63%) are much more likely than men (46%) to say they do not know about the fee, as are those aged 18-34 (66% not aware) and 35-54 (60%) compared to Ontarians aged 55+ (42%). Residents of the GTA (61%) are much more likely to be unaware of the fee than those living in Southwestern Ontario (54%), Eastern Ontario (53%), Central (43%) or Northern (33%) Ontario.
When presented with various motivations for the fee, 46% believe it’s a government tax, while 14% believe it pays for landfill fees. Just four in ten (39%) know that it represents the sole source of funding for tire recycling. Those aged 55+ are much more likely (53%) than those 35-54 (46%) or 18-34 (38%) to think the fee is a government tax.
One quarter (27%) of Ontarians have purchased replacement tires and/or a car in the last 24 months. Among those who have, their knowledge of the fee and its uses is stronger…
- 45% of recent tire purchasers know that tires are recycled and no longer end up in landfills, compared to 34% of those who haven’t recently purchased tires.
- 37% of recent tire purchasers know about the $4 fee and its purpose, while just 21% of those who haven’t recently purchased tires can claim this level of knowledge.
- 45% of recent tire purchasers know that the fee is the sole funding for tire recycling, while only 37% of those who haven’t recently purchased tires know this to be the case.
Once tires are recycled, Canadians knowledge of what they’re used for is mixed. While a majority (70%) know that scrap tires can be used to make playgrounds and sports fields, fewer believe that they can also be used for construction materials (53%), asphalt (50%), livestock mats (49%), patio tiles (43%), garden mulch (18%) or clothing (11%). One in eight (13%) believe that none of these things can be made out of recycled scrap tires.
While 63% of Ontarians agree (9% strongly/54% somewhat) that there are many products for sale in Ontario that are made from recycled tires, clearly they are a bit fuzzy on the specifics of which products those actually are. Most (69%) Ontarians agree (12% strongly/57% somewhat) that products made from recycled tires are of high quality. However, only 28% agree (6% strongly/22% somewhat) that they have intentionally bought a product made from recycled tires. There might be a perceived barrier to purchase, as some (27%) agree (6% strongly/21% somewhat) that they wouldn’t buy a product made from recycled tires as they worry about the smell.
The Circular Economy
A circular economy is a way in which products are never discarded but are reused and recycled into new products. This is currently the case in Ontario. Rather than solely relying on new materials, a circular economy means materials are recycled into new products instead of ending up in landfills.
Thinking about this type of system, 85% agree (27% strongly/59% somewhat) that a more circular economy is the way to make environmental improvements, and 80% agree (17% strongly/63% somewhat) that a circular economy is synonymous with recycling. Moreover, 81% (27% strongly/54% somewhat) agree that purchasing recycled products helps to combat climate change.
But some Ontarians are of the opinion that the circular economy is not entirely beneficial. For example, one quarter (24%) believes (5% strongly/20% somewhat) that a circular economy creates more pollution, and that recycled products are not of high quality (27% agree, 4% strongly/23% somewhat). Four in ten (42%) also agree (6% strongly/36% somewhat) that recycled products are more expensive than new material. Three in ten say that recycling takes more energy and contributes to climate change more than it’s worth (30% agree, 7% strongly/23% somewhat), and that trucks that transport recycled tires create more pollution than it’s worth (31% agree, 6% strongly/25% somewhat).
On balance, though, Ontarians are quite positive towards recycling and the circular tire economy. Specifically:
- Most (87%) agree (27% strongly/60% somewhat) that it makes sense for tire producers to be responsible for recycling old tires
- Eight in ten (83%) agree (26% strongly/57% somewhat) that recycling old tires into new products helps to combat climate change
- A similar proportion (84%) agrees (30% strongly/55% somewhat) that more investment in green technologies would help create jobs in Ontario
- Three quarters (78%) say (24% strongly/54% somewhat) they’re happy to pay a small fee when they purchase tires if it helps the environment.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between July 31 and Aug 4, 2020, on behalf of eTracks Tire Management System. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Ontarians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Ontario population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Ontarians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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