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Industry welcomes Minister’s priority listing of end-of-life tyres

21 October 2022

Industry welcomes Minister’s priority listing of end-of-life tyres to propel sustainable outcomes and new business opportunities for Australia

Today’s Environment Minister’s Meeting announced end-of-life tyres will be included on the Minister’s product stewardship priority list.

The product stewardship priority list identifies products and materials considered to be most in need of a product stewardship approach, including post-consumer use and disposal. With 80% of Australia’s used tyre derived material currently being shipped overseas and often to developing countries, the addition of end-of-life tyres sends a clear message that the Australian tyre industry needs to take greater responsibility for its product.

The national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme (the Scheme) is currently financed by the voluntary contribution of 49% of tyre importers and has almost 1,700 accredited participants, which include tyre retailers, collectors/recyclers, local government, mining and fleet organisations.

“Current Scheme contributors and participants are the pioneers and innovators in the sustainable management, recycling and productive use of recovered end-of-life tyres,” says Lina Goodman, CEO of Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) which administers the Scheme.

“They do this voluntarily with their investment yielding significant outcomes and benefits for Australia so far.

“But the recent independent review conducted by Arcoona Consulting, shows that, as a voluntary initiative the Scheme has reached its peak in its ability to effectively recover and reuse end-of-life tyres. That it is still far from leveraging the full environmental, social and economic benefits this recovered resource can deliver. That without timely regulatory intervention, the Scheme will be unable to shift the dial on these critical indicators or meet community expectations to maximise waste reduction, reuse and recycling outcomes within Australia.

“These critical indicators include some sobering numbers for Australia.

“Australia still exports 80% of its recovered end-of-life tyre derived material. This means we are effectively exporting opportunities for local manufacturing and job creation.

“Currently, less than 15% of used off-the-road tyres from mining, agriculture and construction are recovered. Because of the high rubber content in these large tyres, an exceptionally valuable resource, this is a missed opportunity to deliver substantial environmental, social and economic benefits for regional, rural and remote communities.

“Over 50% of tyre importers are not currently contributing financially to the Scheme, but instead unfairly free-riding on the work that the Scheme is attempting to achieve.

“By being included on the Minister’s Priority List today, the door has now been opened for Australia to shift these numbers in the right direction. To bring Australia’s circular tyre economy in line with the ‘cradle to cradle’ approach taken by other tyre schemes around the world. To support local manufacturing and create jobs in the economy that do not exist today. To prevent future harm to our environment and human health from inappropriate disposal of end-of-life tyres here and overseas.

“We applaud the Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek, and all state and territory Environment ministers for listening to stakeholders and the community and recognising that these missed opportunities are no longer acceptable.

We also look forward to a timely outcome through co-regulation under the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020.”

Read the full results of the Independent Review here.

Download the full media release here.

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