In the last six months there has been a great deal of government and local council discussion about providing better disposal solutions for end-of-life car tyres, but not much action.
One notable exception to the inactivity has been the company Tyrecycle, which has shredded and removed its stockpile of 300,000 tyres, previously stored at Longford, and sent them to its Melbourne recycling plant. Tyrecycle intends to team up with Brighton-based company Barwicks to enable regular shredding and removal of tyres, therefore avoiding the need for large quantities of tyres to be stored. Barwick’s has submitted a development application to Brighton Council for a shredding facility to process up to 300,000 tyres per year.
In November 2015 the Northern Midlands Council decided that the state’s only legal storage area for large quantities of used tyres, a facility operated by Tim Chugg near Longford, cannot receive more tyres after March 2016. This deadline has now been extended until December 2016.
The state government has established a working group to advise the Minister for the Environment on removal of the Longford stockpile and investigate long-term tyre disposal solutions. The TCT provided a submission to this working group in December 2015, including a copy of our survey of tyre retailers (see below), but have heard nothing further.
The EPA has not finalised the Draft ‘Approved Management Method for Storage and Reuse of Waste Tyres’ (for storage of up to 6600 tyres at a single location) and we have not been advised of any time frame for its completion.
Survey of tyre retailers
The TCT believes that all tyre retailers should take responsibility for the safe disposal of end-of-life tyres (referred to hereafter as tyres) and that the customers should be charged a fair price for disposal.
To assist with achieving this goal, the TCT undertook an anonymous phone survey in September and October 2015 of 33 tyre retailers (well-known tyre brand outlets) and eight garages across Tasmania.
Thirty-one businesses responded to the survey. These were the key findings:
· Charge customers for disposal: 19 businesses (61% of respondents) said that they charge customers for disposing of used tyres; 11 businesses (35% of respondents) said they did not charge for disposal.
· Disposal fee on the customer’s bill: 18 out of the 19 respondents who charged a disposal fee (58% of all respondents) identified the fee on the customer’s bill.
· Recycling: seven businesses (22.5% of respondents) said they send car tyres for recycling and three (less than 10% of respondents) named the recycler.
· Longford: 14 businesses (45% of respondents) said that tyres went to Longford but didn’t know specifically what happened to them.
· Unknown destination: five businesses (16% of respondents) did not know what happened to their tyres after they are taken away.
· Landfill: three businesses (just under 10% or respondents) said they sent tyres to landfill.
· Prices: prices varied little, with 10 out of 18 respondents saying they charged $3.00 for a standard tyre; a further five charged up to 50 cents more or less.
· Price for recycling: although the price for recycling tyres is roughly the same as the price for disposing of them, very few respondents were able to quote for recycling.
Conclusions and recommendations
- All retailers should charge a disposal fee.
- Customers should be notified of the disposal method.
- A minimum price for tyre disposal is set by regulation or through an industry agreement.
- Disposal of tyres to landfill should be banned.
- Regulation is required to prevent large-scale stockpiling.
- An insufficient number of garages completed the survey and an additional survey is required.