Finally, A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Tyres Responsibly

With our campaign and headlines in the last 12 months about illegal tyre dumps and fires, public health risks, fines, clean-up notices and prosecutions – responsible tyre stewardship is now on the agenda. Big changes are coming with tougher regulations and pressure from brands, governments and the community.

In order to address these issues, the Boomerang Alliance decided to produce Tyre Life, the first detailed guide to how the Australian tyre industry can manage tyres safely and meet high environmental and operating standards. Every hard copy of the book comes with online regulations update and management tools for collectors, recyclers, retailers, importers, distributors and fleets.

We estimate that there are now some 50 million waste tyres in our environment. Tyres are, by far, the largest single component of all the hazardous, toxic and flammable materials that enter the waste stream each year. While the costs to properly manage tyres are increasing, improper management can undercut responsible operators . Around 60% of the discounting comes by avoiding legitimate environment, safety and regulatory compliance costs.

End of Life tyres (ELTs) left in stockpiles or dumped are a primary cause for the spread and increased incidence of vector-borne diseases like Dengue Fever, Ross River Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Chikungunya and Barmah Forest Virus. Tyres are an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Urban stockpiles have the effect of both increasing the number of breeding sites and also bring the breeding grounds closer to larger residential and workforce populations.


Tyres are problematic in landfill as well. While tyres don’t spontaneously combust, the hollow doughnut shape of a whole tyre traps oxygen and shields the fire from extinguishing agents – making a fire very difficult to manage. Buried whole, the tyres float and often cause subsidence. Even shredded ELTs create a dangerous mix. Landfill gas, mostly methane, is highly combustible and vulcanised rubber is almost impossible to extinguish.

The solution? It’s simple. Retailers and other ELTs generators need to ensure they use a licensed recycling service that is subject to regular independent audits and has a planning permit to store and process tyres.

The barrier? Some within the industry refuse to pay for a legitimate service despite the fact that the fees offered for the collection and recycling of tyres are among the lowest offered by specialist waste and recycling services.

We hope Tyre Life will accelerate the transition of the Australian tyre industry to one of the best practice industries in the world. If you are a tyre store, brand, local council, fleet owner, planning and waste consultant, miner, recycler or government agency – you need Tyre Life.

Dave West,
National Policy Director and Tyre Life author

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  • commented 2016-07-04 15:45:11 +1000
    There is no doubt that used tyres represent a dangerous waste problem but recycling tyres into other uses in not the solution. Tyres are full of toxic and hazardous substances and represent a risk to workers and the environment as the problems are just spread further throughout the materials production process. Recycling is best when the waste is returned to its former product not “down cycled” into other uses spreading the problem into other products and therefore waste streams . Unfortunately crumbed tyres are being used in children’s products, soft fall playgrounds and fake turf putting children’s health at risk. Regulators are also allowing used tyres to be used as alternative fuels creating dangerous and often unregulated air pollution. The responsibility for used tyres lies solely with the manufacturers who should be required to discontinue making new tyres that cannot be safely recycled into new tyres.

Toxic Tyres Campaign

Tyres are pretty harmless right? When the dealer fits my new tyres they recycle them don’t they? That’s what most tyre dealers and manufacturers want you to believe. Unfortunately the reality is that when you buy new tyres you are probably being ripped off through an elaborate ‘con job’ perpetuated by unethical and dishonest tyre dealers and criminal smugglers posing as recyclers. This practice has devastating and often tragic consequences.