Thought Leaders 2021: Lina Goodman
What opportunities do you predict for the growth of your industry in 2021?
TSA’s plans for 2021 remain ambitious and multifaceted.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a reassessment of priorities globally. More than ever, people want to ensure the prospect of humanity on Earth is not wasted. Environmental vandalism and the notion of profit at all costs will no longer be tolerated.
The environment is perfect for investment into the recycling of used tyres. The federal government has set the scene for greater consumption of tyre-derived products such as crumb rubber and permeable pavements across infrastructure nationally.
I believe we will see new technology really come to the fore in 2021. Stimulating innovation to advance circular economy principles is at the forefront of the thinking of many organisations.
We expect the export ban on whole baled tyres to come into effect in December 2021. This means we will see organisations start remodelling their business to remain profitable.
We will also see a renewed focus in the off-the-road (OTR) sector. It is vital that this sector considers actions for increased resource recovery.
I believe we will also see retailers being responsible for their used tyres more rigorously than they have been in the past. There is more regulation than ever before and governments at all levels are expecting tyre retailers to do their due diligence with the recyclers/collectors they choose. It will be more critical than ever to be TSA-accredited and continue to meet the Scheme guidelines.
Perhaps most exciting about the year ahead from TSA’s perspective is that consumers are going to truly start putting their money with their mouths are, and ‘talking the talk’ that their tyres do matter. They are going to want their used tyres to be looked after responsibly, and to buy tyres from retailers who use accredited recyclers. It’s why TSA is implementing the mytyresmychoice consumer campaign commencing summer 2020.
What are the three biggest challenges or threats facing your industry in 2021?
The export used tyre market we have enjoyed for many years is not going to be the same any more. Countries we have traditionally sent end-of-life tyres (EOLT) to are going to have their own challenges with used tyres. We are not going to have the same outlets to send our tyres to overseas. Some markets will be closed — for example, India may no longer be a viable market for unprocessed used tyres.
While we predict greater investment into tyre recycling across Australia in 2021 — which is exciting — the cost of disposing an EOLT is going to increase.
Research shows us consumers are prepared to pay more for the responsible disposal of their waste, but they want to be comfortable it will be done sustainably. Unscrupulous operators undercutting the cost of collecting tyres with no sustainable outcomes may emerge; illegal dumping may increase.
Australia is also a potential hotspot for dumped rubber crumb from overseas destinations. The levy TSA members pay is 25c per equivalent passenger unit (EPU); compare this to European Schemes where it’s $3 per EPU, this provides the opportunity to subsidise their rubber crumb to other destinations. The result is that it can land in Australia approx $200 per tonne cheaper than purchasing locally.
TSA is working with Ernst and Young on an assurity program for its accredited participants. The label provides assurity that the product is generated from Australian waste tyres. This supports local, state and federal government procurement policies and provides a framework to ensure that recycled content is generated from Australian waste.
What impacts has COVID had on your industry, and how does this affect your business strategies for 2021?
It’s no secret people’s travel has been severely restricted due to COVID, so people aren’t travelling — which means less burden on tyres. The global supply chain has been impacted, so as COVID restrictions lift further, Australian retailers and consumers may struggle to get the tyres they’re looking for on their cars.
Recyclers have been impacted because they were unable to get containers to export the materials to locations. This further impacted used tyre collections. Recyclers were collecting but the stress on the final disposition of those tyres indicated that in some instances recyclers, collectors and retailers were forced to hold more tyres than they were capable of managing at the time.
From a business perspective, we previously had one auditor travelling around the country visiting recyclers and collectors. Now we have state-based auditors visiting recyclers and collectors even if the borders are closed. And our audit and compliance will continue with self-auditing through technology.
TSA also had to reconsider its auditing process, with restrictions on transport and site visits requiring a rethinking of how these functions could continue. With state-based auditing now in process, supported by a self-assessment questionnaire, TSA is using technology to enhance its auditing function.
What sustainability strategies will be at the forefront for your business in 2021?
Our strategic plan to 2023 is focused on driving a circular economy that contributes to a sustainable society, facilitates commercial outcomes and drives public awareness.
The five strategic goals are:
Strategic Goal 1 — Increase used tyre recovery and end markets
Strategic Goal 2 — Continue to improve data and information on all used tyre fates, both in Australia and overseas
Strategic Goal 3 — Grow the number of organisations contributing to and participating in the Tyre Stewardship Scheme
Strategic Goal 4 — TSA is a trusted entity, building relationship and value for its stakeholders
Strategic Goal 5 — TSA is a significant contributor to the global circular economy for EOLT
They are simple goals, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals such as decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, responsible consumption and production, climate action and partnerships for the goals. More importantly, our strategic goals clearly spell out what success looks like.
In short, we want to promote increased local use of Australian end-of-life tyres in productive ways by significantly investing in market development to drive high volume uses of tyre-derived products and research into new innovations.
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