Tyre firms lead recycling boost
THE AUSTRALIAN tyre industry is to take on a leadership role to develop new industries from the 48 million used tyres being disposed of each year. Only 16 per cent are recycled.
The Environment Minister Greg Hunt this week joined tyre industry leaders to announce a new initiative to encourage sustainable use of Australia’s end-of-life tyres.
Mr Hunt announced the formation of Tyre Stewardship Australia and the national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme to explore the potential for new industries and products from end-of-use tyres, improvement of collection and recycling processes and the reduction of unsustainable disposal practices.
Only 16 per cent of the almost 50 million tyres discarded annually in Australia are presently recycled.
The rest are disposed to landfill, stockpiled, illegally dumped or exported. Dumping and stockpiling can create serious health and environmental hazards.
The Chairman of Tyre Stewardship Australia Gerry Morvell said present practices for disposing of end-of-life tyres were damaging the environment and creating health and fire hazards.
‘‘Australia only recycles around 16 per cent of its end-of-life tyres compared with 43 per cent in Europe and 32 per cent in the US,’’ he said.
‘‘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.’’
He said the scheme would have the multiple benefits of transforming a waste product into useful products, creating new industries and employment opportunities while also reducing the environmental harm caused by illegal dumping.
The scheme would focus on promoting innovative use of tyre-derived products and development of new markets, as well as educating industry and the public about the benefits of sustainable recycling.
There is a wide range of uses for end-of-life tyres and tyre-derived products, such as for road surfacing, soft fall playground surfacing, brake pads, industrial and commercial flooring, explosives, or in civil engineering and for fuels for energy recovery.
Leading tyre manufacturers Michelin, Yokohama, Continental, Goodyear-Dunlop, Toyo and Pirelli have financially backed the program.