Are you concerned about the sustainable disposal of tyres?

Posted by: Cal on 6/08/2014

Category: General

With around 48 million tyres replaced and disposed of in Australia every year, the issue of sustainability is one to consider when you are in the market for new tyres.

A recent survey of New Zealanders indicates most Kiwis are concerned about how their tyres are recycled. The CanStar Blue survey reveals more than half of Kiwi car tyre purchasers would be happy to pay a levy to ensure their tyres are recycled in an environmentally friendly manner. 

Similar results were found in a 2013 Australian survey by Colmar Brunton, which revealed 43 per cent would welcome a levy to make tyre disposals more 'green' and would also consider paying more for more environmentally friendly tyres.

How many tyres are disposed of in Australia every year?

Currently, around 66 per cent of tyres in Australia go to landfill, or are illegally dumped or stockpiled, according to Go Auto's Terry Martin. In a June 3 article he states only 16 per cent are recycled. 

This is of growing concern to motorists and government agencies. As a result, the Product Stewardship for end-of-life tyres initiative was set up and has been in operation since January 20, 2014.

The Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) aims to increase tyre recycling and expand the market for products made from tyres. This will reduce the number of old tyres sent to landfill, helping the environment. 

How can you dispose of old tyres in an environmentally friendly way?

Sending tyres to landfill can create many health and environmental concerns, according to the Department of the Environment. However, to maintain optimal tyre safety, it is important to replace them when they become worn or the tread drops to below the legal limit of 1.5 mm. 

Fires in stockpiles have the potential to release toxic gases into the environment and can also provide breeding habitats for vermin and mosquitoes.

On the other hand, tyres that are dumped or sent to landfill represent a waste of materials, as the steel, rubber and textiles can be repurposed.

The Department of the Environment claims these can be used in the manufacture of new rubber products, as an alterative fuel for industries such as the production of cement and energy, or even as a substitute for diesel in explosives. 

They could also be used to construct roads as the tyre products form as a constituent in asphalt roads. Alternatively, they could be applied as surface materials such as sporting fields, artificial turf, conveyor belts or playground surfaces. 

Another option is to repurpose them as embankments or lightweight fill in civil engineering processes.