May 28, 2021
Have you ever considered what happens to your old tyres when they are replaced? Are they sent to landfill, stockpiled somewhere or, worse yet, dumped illegally? Or are the materials recovered and used to make to something new? It may surprise you to learn the answer depends entirely on which tyre retailer you use.
The good news is, we all have the power to make sure our used tyres are dealt with responsibly. Here’s how to ensure your old tyres are reused and why it’s so important they don’t end up in landfill or the environment.
Finding a responsible retailer is actually very easy thanks to Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA). All you have to do is search the MyTyres MyChoice online directory of accredited retailers to find one near you. The retailers listed in the directory are adhering to the sustainability guidelines for the management of tyres at their end of life set by TSA and contribute to the ongoing success of the tyre recycling program.
When you use a responsible tyre retailer, your old tyres will be collected by a trusted recycler to be either reused (after re-treading or repair) or processed into ‘tyre derived products’. This could mean the materials are turned into new products such as athletic tracks, safety road barriers or rubber asphalt mix (that’s right, roads can be made from old tyres!). Tyre Stewardship Australia has also invested $6 million into the research and development of new ways to use old tyres.
In the past five years, an average of 540,000 tonnes of tyres have been sold in Australia annually – that’s the equivalent of 57 million passenger tyres! Putting all these tyres in landfill once they reach their end of life is unsustainable, so we must find new ways to repurpose the materials and make them into new products. Recovering the materials from tyres also lessens the strain on our natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by diminishing the demand for new or ‘virgin’ materials.
While most tyre retailers are doing the right thing, 28 per cent of old tyres were dumped, buried, stockpiled or sent to landfill from 2019 to 2020. That’s 127,000 tonnes of materials that could have been repurposed.
Tyre Stewardship Australia is a non-commercial organisation created to implement the national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme – a system that puts responsibility for the sustainable management of tyres at their end of life on the companies that manufacture them and the retailers that dispose of them.
The scheme is funded by the industry, but it is not compulsory, which is why it’s so important for consumers to be informed. In 2020, the eight tyre importers funding the scheme represented approximately 43 per cent of the market. You can use your purchasing power to support retailers and manufacturers that are taking responsibility for their products.
When it’s time to change the tyres on your vehicle, choose brands that contribute to sustainable outcomes for used tyres to support this recycling scheme and encourage other companies to join. Search TSA’s MyTyres MyChoice directory to find both accredited retailers and tyre and auto brands. For every tyre you purchase from a responsible brand, 25c per equivalent passenger tyre is contributed to funding the tyre product stewardship scheme.
If you are using a tyre retailer that you think is doing the right thing but isn’t accredited, encourage them to contact TSA. The scheme is free for retailers to join.
Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature and immersing herself in arts and culture.