Tyre recovery: TSA calls for action

Tuesday, 08 August, 2023

Tyre recovery: TSA calls for action

Though Australia recovers close to 90% of passenger, bus and truck tyres, the remaining 10% gap is critical to achieving national waste reduction goals, reducing carbon emissions and deterring eco-hazards in the future.

Data has shown that the impact of only 10% of unrecovered tyres is still an eco-hazard and there is a risk of going backwards unless illegal dumping, stockpiling and rogue waste operators are eliminated.

Lina Goodman, TSA CEO, said there is a misguided belief that enough is being done in tyre recovery, when the reality is far from that. Snap Send Solve data shows that there are at least eight reports of tyres being dumped daily, whether on the road, in a creek or in the bush around Australia.

“We’re not talking about bottles and aluminium cans that are easy to put in a wheelie bin, transport and process. Tyres, like mattresses, are another logistics ball game altogether,” Goodman said.

10% of passenger, bus and truck tyres unrecovered equates to 5.7 million passenger tyres not being collected each year. With councils, mostly in regional, rural and remote areas, being left with costly clean-ups of illegally dumped tyres and the risks of fires, ratepayers are shouldering the cost.

Snap Send Solve is a tool for communities to let councils know the reality of the problem at a local level.

Danny Gorog, Managing Director, said dumped tyres have a tendency to ‘multiply’ if not dealt with, and a quick snap may be the first step to prevent the issue getting bigger.

Over 530 councils are connected to the application and receive reports on local issues from over 400,000 ‘snappers’.

This problem is not only isolated to Australia. Other countries that have dealt with this problem have one thing in common — a regulated scheme and supportive policies.

An ‘all-in’ structure, rather than the existing ‘opt-in’ structure for the national tyre scheme may prevent industry from discharging tyre responsibilities to local councils and communities. Regulatory support may also increase the capability and sustainable value across the industry for all stakeholders.

According to Goodman, global all-in schemes have succeeded in driving a circular economy for tyres, while Australia’s opt-in and opt-out approach has only been able to go so far.

In regional communities where around 130,000 tonnes of mining, agriculture and other off-road tyres are buried each year, an all-in scheme would see the mining and agriculture used tyres create an opportunity for local economic growth and increased manufacturing.

End-of-life tyres were included on the Federal Minister’s Product Stewardship Priority List in October 2022, suggesting that a regulated scheme is on the federal, state and territory governments’ radar. At the June Environment Ministers Meeting, the government agreed to fast-track a review of the Australia’s tyre stewardship framework.

Image credit: iStock.com/Ziga Plahutar

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