ACCC reauthorises Tyre Stewardship Scheme
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted a further six years of authorisation to the Tyre Stewardship Scheme (TSS), designed to increase the recycling of tyres and use of products made from recycled tyres. Authorisation is a public process which allows the ACCC to grant protection from legal action for conduct that might otherwise breach the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) was established in 2013 as the administrator of the industry cooperative scheme, with the support of state and federal governments. Participants in the scheme are businesses involved across the tyre supply chain and include tyre retailers, importers, recyclers and collectors, fleet operators and local governments across Australia.
The initial five-year ACCC authorisation allowed the TSS the ability to fund its operations through the application of a 25% per EPU (equivalent passenger unit) consumer levy. The scheme also imposes a levy of 25 cents per tyre on tyre importers, designed to fund the promotion of new uses for tyre-derived products.
TSA sought authorisation of specific provisions of the guidelines that govern the operation of the scheme, including imposing obligations on participants to commit to the environmentally sound use of used tyres and to only deal with accredited businesses along the tyre supply chain. The ACCC has now considered the progress of the voluntary scheme and the impact that TSA has been able to make in education relating to the need to sustainably manage the 56 million EPUs Australia generates each year.
“We have decided to authorise provisions of this scheme for a further six years, as the scheme is likely to increase the number of tyres being disposed of in an environmentally friendly way and result in a net public benefit,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.
“The ACCC also considers it is likely that public benefit will be generated through the research and development financed by scheme levy funds. In particular, the ACCC considers that TSA’s proposed research and development, coupled with its industry and public awareness activities, could assist in developing industry recognition of the commercial value of end-of-life tyres and identify potential markets for tyre-derived products.
“Our authorisation is not an endorsement of the scheme. Indeed, whilst some progress has been made since the scheme was first authorised in 2013, we consider there is more room for further progress. We note that TSA is improving the way it verifies where exported tyres end up, as well as tightening its processes for accrediting and monitoring industry participants.
“The ACCC will look closely at the scheme’s performance over the six years of authorisation. If the participation by mining companies and vehicle importers in the scheme does not improve, we would urge governments to consider regulation.”
In welcoming the ACCC determination, TSA Chairman David Spear acknowledged the input of the redetermination process in helping to refine TSA future objectives.
“Tyre Stewardship Australia are pleased by the ACCC determination and new authorisation of the Tyre Stewardship Scheme, which commences from June 15,” he said. “It recognises the value the TSS has been able to deliver and the work that TSA has done to set up future improvements in the sustainable management of end-of-life tyres. We have welcomed and valued the input from the many interested parties and look forward to progressing TSA’s future objectives.”
TSA CEO Dale Gilson added, “The amendments in the reauthorisation, notably the increased flexibility to the structure of the fund program and the greater capability for managing non-compliance, will both enable TSA to more effectively realise the desired outcomes of the Tyre Stewardship Scheme.”
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