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New rule requires public institutions to consider vendors’ environmental record when buying tires

The government is trying to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to environmental rules.

The Health Ministry and Casa Presidencial signed a decree Tuesday ordering public institutions to consider vendor compliance with health and environmental regulations, not just price, when purchasing tires. The decree was announced Tuesday during the president’s weekly press conference at Casa Presidencial.

Costa Rica imports 1 million tires and produces another 281,000 annually, according to the Health Ministry’s Human Environment Protection Administration. Under Costa Rican law, importers, distributors and manufacturers are responsible for the appropriate disposal of tires, one of 14 products with such a requirement.

Tires can be retreaded no more than twice before they are discarded.

“These kinds of actions focused on eco-effiency, cost control and promoting reuse help to achieve reduction in the use of materials and energy, contributing to the mid- and long-term impact of pollution and climate change,” said acting Health Minister Fernando Llorca.

Improper disposal of old tires is a major contributor to pollution. Old tires are also breeding sites for disease-carrying mosquitos.

Costa Rica generated 4,000 metric tons of solid waste in 2014, according to the Health Ministry.

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