Only 5 per cent of the 51 million EPUs discarded annually in Australia are presently recycled locally. The rest are disposed to landfill, stockpiled, illegally dumped or exported overseas.
The Tyre Stewardship Scheme provides an ACCC authorised, government supported, industry framework to effectively reduce the environmental, health and safety impacts of the 51 million EPUs which reach the end of their life in Australia each year.
On the 20th January 2014, Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, joined tyre industry leaders in Melbourne 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 promote the increase in environmentally sustainable collection and recycling processes and to, explore and promote new uses for and products using recycled end-of-life tyres.
The scheme has 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 is also designed to deliver a range of benefits for individual Participants, the tyre industry as a whole and for the community. These include:
increased use of a resource stream currently being disposed of as waste
reduction in the number of tyres not going to an environmentally sound use
an enhanced Australian recycling industry and sustainable markets for end-of-life tyres and tyre derived products
increased capacity to handle end-of-life tyres in Australia
creation of new markets for end-of-life tyres and tyre derived products through research and development
an improved business environment particularly for tyre collectors and recyclers
increased consumer awareness of the impacts of end-of-life tyre disposal, and
enhanced credibility for the tyre industry through demonstrated leadership in environmental management and adoption of corporate social responsibility strategies.
There is a wide range of usages 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 Continental, Bridgestone, Goodyear-Dunlop, Michelin, Pirelli, Toyo and Yokohama have financially backed the establishment and initial operation of Tyre Stewardship Australia.