Shockingly only 16% of the approximate 48 million tyres or Equivalent Passenger Units (EPUs) discarded on an annual basis are currently recycled. This leaves the remaining to become landfill, stockpiled, or illegally dumped or exported overseas. Due to the concerns raised by this statistic on the 20th January 2014, the minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced a new initiative aimed at encouraging sustainable use of Australia’s end-of-life tyres.
“This Scheme will provide a framework to effectively reduce the environmental, health and safety impacts of the 48 million tyres which reach the end of their life in Australia each year. It gives the Australian tyre industry the opportunity to show strong environmental and product stewardship leadership.” – TSA Chairman Gerry Morvell
It’s hoped that the newly formed organisation combined with the implementation of the national Tyre Product Scheme will help encourage the increase of environmentally sustainable collection and recycling processes and to, explore and promote new uses for products using recycled end-of-life tyres. Some of the benefits of the initiative are transforming a waste product into useful products, which will create new industries and employment opportunities whilst also reducing the environmental impact caused by illegal and incorrect practices.
What is the Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) and what do they do?
The Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) was created to implement the national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme to encourage the development of viable new markets for end-of-life tyres.
“Be part of the solution and turn costly waste into a valuable resource!”
The TSA is made up of numerous representatives from all areas of the tyre supply chain including major tyre retailers, manufacturers, recyclers, collectors and the Australian Motor Industry Federation.
The scheme overseen by the TSA has been designed to deliver an extensive range of benefits for individual participants, the tyre industry as a whole and for the community. The benefits include:
- Increasing the use of a resources life which is currently being disposed of as waste
- Reducing the environmental impact caused by improper disposal or illegal waste
- Improvement in the Australian recycling industry and sustainability markets
- Increased end-of-life tyre capacity in Australia
- The creation of new markets and employment opportunities
- Improved business stability (particularly for tyre collectors and recyclers)
- Increased consumer awareness of the impacts of negligent tyre disposal
- Improve the credibility of the tyre industry
- Portray the tyre industry in a more positive light through the demonstration of leadership and initiative in environmental conscious management and adoption of appropriate corporate social responsibility strategies.
What do TSA members do?
Accredited participants under the Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme commit to:
- Uphold and support the objectives of the scheme
- Operate ethically and with transparently with others involved in the tyre supply chain, including consumers
- Positively promote the scheme to community members, other businesses and organisations, including through the implementation and development of an individual action plan which is available for download
- Appropriately use the initiatives branding and logo, adhering to the conditions set out under the Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme Guidelines.
- Abide by all relevant legislation and laws, including those that apply to environmental and occupational health and safety
- Participate and contribute in surveys that are undertaken, including random or risk based audits as instigated by TSA. This includes retaining and on request providing the TSA with relevant documentation specified in the guidelines
By becoming a member of the TSA participants under the scheme also commit to contribute to:
- Correct environmental practices when using end-of-life tyres
- Eliminate the export of baled tyres from Australia
- Eliminate illegal dumping of tyres
- Eliminate the disposal tyres to landfill (except under the circumstance when no viable alternative is available and subject to state or territory legislation. E.g. In rural areas and remote locations where recycling facilities are not available, or transportation costs are prohibitive).
Recycled Tyre Uses
There are an extensive number of usages for tyres that have reached the end-of-life, as well as tyre derived products. At present a number of the recycled tyre uses include:
- Road surfacing
- Brake pads
- Industrial and commercial flooring
- Civil engineering
- Fuels for energy recovery
- Soft fall playground surfacing
Tyre Stewardship Research Fund
To further promote and initiate innovation and development of effective end-of-life tyre products and tyre derived products, a research fund was created by the TSA. The funds focus is to dedicate resources to early-stage through to proof-of-concept research and development so members along the entire supply chain can better utilise tyres. Among the objectives of the Tyre Stewardship Research Fund are:
- Advance the progression of innovative technologies in Australia by continuing to support research in high priority technologies
- Gather local experts, and attract international expertise to assist nationally in improving technologies related to end-of-life tyres
- Support the development of skills and capacity in Australia in technologies relevant to end-of-life tyres for both domestic and international markets
- Communicate the results the research projects with the wider industry whilst respecting intellectual property rights.
Action Tyres & More’s Assessment on the TSA Initiative
With the Tyre Stewardship Scheme Australia has implemented an ACCC authorised, government supported, industry framework which will work to effectively reduce the environmental and health and safety impacts caused by the 48million EPUs that reach the end of their life in Australia each year. At Action Tyres & More we believe the scheme is a significant positive step in the right direction benefiting all levels of the tyre supply chain. With further research and development the tyre industry will certainly see significant benefits in the form of more sustainable practices, new markets and greater job prosperity.