Tyre stockpiling has become a problem once again since March, when Queensland’s Department of Environment removed tyre storage from its list of Environmentally Relevant Activities (ERAs) in the Environmental Protection Regulation. Industry Associations such as the Waste Recycling Industry Association Queensland and the Australian Council of Recycling have voiced their concern. Inside Waste reported that the department has responded unsatisfactorily to these bodies and that, according to WRIQ, the department said “As there is no evidence of releases of contaminants from the operation of tyre storage facilities with the potential to cause significant environmental harm, it is not appropriate to use environmental licensing as a tool to regulate this activity”.
CEO of ACOR, Grant Musgrove in his submission to the Department of Environment has suggested that the department should review its draft ERA 59 on tyre recycling, particularly the risk assessment, as it fails to address the true environmental and social risks in relation to tyre storage and stockpiling. The financial risk to legitimate tyre recyclers is also of concern because recycled products do not reflect the costs of recycling.
He recommends that the draft prescribed ERAs should take into consideration the entire tyre supply chain. It is important that regulations are in place to ensure operators that charge customers to collect tyres for recycling do actually recycle or dispose of the tyres without negative impacts on the environment and to human health. For example, there are rogue operators and organised criminals who pay less for the removal of tyres, claiming that the tyres are being stored “temporarily”. Unfortunately, most do not recycle or dispose of the tyres responsibly and stockpiling has re-emerged. Used tyres are being stored in facilities not purpose built to offset the risk of long lasting “oil fires” generated by waste tyres. Fires were generated from stockpiled tyres in Salisbury and Willawong resulting in loss of life and $15million in damages. The environmental costs of these fires is high, waterways, soil and the air are all affected adversely, also posing a risk to human health.
Kartaway Queensland are an environmentally responsible waste management provider, recycling waste wherever possible.