Used tyre storage regulation - amendment to Schedule 2 of EMPCA

Brad Arkell
Senior Policy Officer
Environmental Policy & Support Services Section
EPA Tasmania
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
GPO Box 1550
Hobart 7001

12 July 2017

Email: brad.arkell@environment.tas.gov.au

Used tyre storage regulation – amendment to Schedule 2 of EMPCA

The TCT is highly supportive of the proposal to have waste tyre storage listed as a Schedule 2 activity under EMPCA.

Our major concern is that 100 tonnes (equivalent to 12,500 EPUs or standard car tyres) is a high threshold for this activity. This threshold would enable storage of up to 100 tonnes of waste tyres without a requirement for assessment and approval by the Board of the EPA.

One hundred tonnes is used for a range of other schedule 2 listings, but I wonder if it is appropriate in this instance given the potential hazard posed by such a large amount of stored tyres. Unless there is some compelling reason for settling on 100 tonnes the TCT recommends that the EPA considers a lower limit of perhaps 50 tonnes.

Under the proposed Schedule 2 listing, it may be possible that a commercial operator (a person who receives payment for collection of waste tyres) could avoid the Schedule 2 requirements (and perhaps other EMPCA requirements) by getting approval from a local council for storage, but not processing, of just under 100 tonnes of waste tyres. This could also be replicated by the same operator at a number of properties, which may be in close proximity. In this way we could end up with a situation similar to that which exists at Longford, only at a number of properties, with no guarantee that the tyres are ever processed or appropriately disposed.

A lower threshold would be a deterrent to such a practice by making it more difficult and costly to operate outside of the Schedule 2 requirements. It would also reduce the potential hazard associated such storages.

Given that the Approved Management Method for Storage and Reuse of Waste Tyres is now in force and applies to quantities of tyres up to 6250 EPU, could the above problem be averted by reducing the Schedule 2 threshold to 6250 EPU (or 50 tonnes) and above? 

This would seem to have the added advantage that all tyre storages would need to be compliant with one or the other regulation.

In the letter we received from EPA Director Wes Ford, dated 9 June 2017, he provided a definition of the activity of "Waste Tyre Storage Depots" including that ”depots which are designed to store, or are likely to store, 100 tonnes or more of waste tyres”. How will the EPA determine that depots are “designed to store” or “are likely to store” 100 tonnes of waste tyres prior to that quantity of waste tyres actually being stored at a depot?

Can the wording of the definition be amended to ensure that a prospective storage operator can better ensure they are compliant with this requirement and the EPA can more effectively monitor compliance? There may also be need for some details regarding this matter to be included in communication materials released by the EPA.

Once the proposed amendment to Schedule 2 is in place, it will be important to ensure that the impact of the changes are clearly communicated to all those people who produce, store or regulate waste tyres. This would include: the broader Tasmanian public; those who receive, transport and store waste tyres (including garages and tyre retailers); and local government. It is critical to have communication materials ready to be distributed immediately after the regulation comes into effect, as this is when most people will take notice. It is important that such communication materials make it clear that the Schedule 2 listing applies regardless of whether the waste tyres are to be processed and addresses the concern expressed above regarding how to determine intention to store 100 tonnes of tyres.

The TCT would welcome any opportunity to assist with the preparation of communication materials regarding this regulation and is keen to help distribute completed materials.

Yours sincerely

Peter McGlone
Director