Where do old car tyres end up?

16 Sep 2014  Written By: Beaurepaires

There are different ways to dispose of your old car tyres, and only some of these methods are eco-friendly. Keep reading to find out what you can do to help.

When you throw something away, do you ever stop to think about where it ends up? Few people actually do. The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a cliché for a reason!

If you’re a car owner, however, it’s very important that you do consider where your old tyres end up. At the present, the irresponsible dumping and disposal of end-of-life tyres poses serious problems when it comes to environmental conservation, waste management, and even public health. It’s not particularly surprising, considering that over 1 billion used car tyres are produced every year all over the world. But it means we do need to raise awareness of the harmful consequences of dumping tyres illegally, exporting them overseas or sending them to landfills en masse.

The numbers don’t lie

When it comes to the responsible disposal of tyres, Australia definitely needs to step up its game. Approximately 48 million tyres are discarded across the country every year, yet only 16% of these are recycled, while the rest are either illegally dumped, stockpiled, transferred overseas or relegated to landfills.

What’s the problem?

Disposing of old tyres incorrectly can create all kinds of environmental and health hazards. Not only do end-of-life tyres clog up landfills in their vast numbers and take up valuable land space, but they also provide an unsanitary breeding ground for mosquitoes and other vermin. Other risks include the leaching of chemicals into the environment and the release of toxic gases through tyre stockpile fires.

So how can we improve the situation in Australia? The good news is that there’s already a government-approved systematic structure in place to get the ball rolling. Introducing the Tyre Stewardship Scheme.

old tyres

The Tyre Stewardship Scheme

Implemented by Tyre Stewardship Australia, the Tyre Stewardship Scheme was approved and authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in early 2014. The official mission of the Scheme is to reduce the volume of end-of-life tyres being disposed of in socially or environmentally irresponsible ways. Correspondingly, TSA also aims to increase the tyre recycling rate in Australia.

The Scheme has been developed with the participation and expertise of various tyre industry stakeholders, including but not limited to: tyre and vehicle importers and retailers, fleet operators, local governments, and tyre collectors and recyclers. In other words, people who know their stuff when it comes to anything tyre-related!

Apart from being funded by the ACCC, the TSA and the Tyre Stewardship Scheme is also financially backed by tyre manufacturing giants such as Continental, Goodyear-Dunlop, Michelin, Pirelli, Toyo, and Yokohama. 

The good stuff

Recycling your end-of-life tyres may require more effort than other methods of tyre disposal, but the widespread benefits will make it all worth it. If all goes well, the Tyre Stewardship Scheme will see:

  • Reduction in the creation of environmentally harmful waste
  • Reduction in land pollution
  • Reduction in harmful carbon emissions
  • Innovative reuse of end-of-life tyres for a range of purposes e.g. road surfacing, playground surfacing, brake pads, flooring, civil engineering needs, fuels for energy recovery, etc.
  • Increased consumer awareness of the impacts of end-of-life tyre disposal
  • An enhanced and sustainable Australian recycling industry

How can you get involved?

To state the obvious, recycling your own old car tyres is of course your first port of call. However, the potential to recycle the ever-increasing numbers of used tyres across the country is limited at the present time, at least until the Scheme is fully fledged. Various tyre dealers and local recycling centers across Australia accept end-of-life tyres for a fee, but please be advised that they may be operating close to capacity.

old tyre 2

Apart from recycling your tyres, it’s really very simple to do your part to support the scheme. Remember that every little bit helps!

  • Buy durable, long-lasting tyres, which will help you to decrease your own usage of car tyres.
  • Take good care of your tyres to further prolong their longevity. This means regular maintenance checks, as well as ensuring your tyres are properly inflated with the correct wheel balance and alignment. If you need any assistance choosing the right tyres for your vehicle or maintaining your tyres, be sure to contact the friendly team at your local Beaurepaires store.
  • Support the recycled product market by purchasing used tyres and retreads.

Baby steps 

It’s clear that we’re still in the early stages of creating a sustainable tyre recycling system in Australia. Luckily, Tyre Stewardship Australia’s Tyre Stewardship Scheme is committed to bringing about these necessary changes. ACCC has approved the Scheme until May 2018, so it’ll be fascinating to see the positive impacts of TSA’S work over the next few years. For more information, visit the official TSA website.