Author: Brad Gray
A massive pile of more than a million used tyres stockpiled in Northern Tasmania is finally facing the shredder.
The stockpile has been a concern for residents since 2015 and poses a significant environmental and fire risk. This positive step towards eradicating the stockpile has come about due to the approval by Northern Midlands Council of a new shredding facility in the town of Longford.
Over 350,000 waste tyres are generated in Tasmania each year. Each passenger car tyre contains approximately 1.5kg of steel, 0.5kg of textiles and 7 kg of rubber.
The shredder is expected the be operational around mid-2017. The approval was granted on condition that the stockpile was removed by 2020 and no new tyres could be accepted to the facility until the shredder was in operation.
TyreRecycle Tasmania welcomed the move and is now looking at seeking approval for a second facility to turn the shredded tyres into a commercial product which can then be used in roads and playground surfaces. This technology is in use on the mainland.
Tyre waste has been identified as a significant issue around the country. Each year in Australia, the equivalent of 48 million tyres reach the end of their life, only 16% of these are domestically recycled. Around two thirds of used tyres in Australia end up in landfill, are stockpiled, illegally dumped or have an unknown fate.
In 2015 the federal government and industry launched Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) to reduce the amount of end of life tyres damaging the environment via landfill, illegal dumping or undesirable export while increasing the recycling rate of end of life tyres. TSA undertakes a number of activities to achieve these aims including accrediting responsible collectors and recyclers as well as funding research into the end-of-life uses of tyre materials.
Brad was Planet Ark's Head of Campaigns for 10 years. He trained and worked as a history and geography teacher before moving into the health education sector for 14 years. With a strong passion for human environments, Brad started with Planet Ark in 2007 as Recycling Programs Manager.