Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) has released its tyre recovery data for 2022-2023, and things don’t look good. Alarmingly, Australia’s recovery of used car, bus and truck (automotive) dumped tyres is going backwards, having dropped to under 80 per cent, a sharp downward trend since the 2019-2020 peak of 90 per cent.
The remaining 20 per cent might not sound like much, but it equates to 11.3 million car tyres beingstockpiled, illegally dumped, landfilled, or hidden in warehouses, on industrial sites, unsuspecting landowners’ properties, even national parks.
Hidden in plain sight: 11.3 million used tyres – greater than the population of Sydney and Melbourne combined – is an environmental nightmare for Australia.
Twenty per cent of unrecovered used tyres amplifies the already-unnecessary economic,environmental, and social cost to local communities, particularly in regional, rural, and remote regions. Tyres left unrecovered increase the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, toxic fires, and contamination toour built and natural environment.
“It’s the trifecta you don’t want; the new data reveals that the economic, social and environmental cost, that our communities are footing the bill for, is only going to get worse,” said TSA CEO Lina Goodman.
The Waste Enforcement Association Australia (WEAA) echoes TSA’s concerns. WEAA has over 300 member organisations tackling illegal dumping and stockpiling of used tyres, and over a third of WEAA members (35 per cent) report dumped or stockpiled tyres as a critical challenge they face.
“Public reports of illegally dumped or stockpiled tyres in our local communities is a real concern, monthly reports are up on average 1.5 times and this serious issue doesn’t look like it is going away anytime soon,” said managing director of WEAA, Samuel Lawson.
“Litter enforcement officers are on the ground as first responders to illegal waste dumping, in every community, every day, and they’ve told us that illegally dumped or stockpiled tyres have become an increasingly challenging issue for their municipalities.
“Not only is the cost to collect and clean up these dumped tyres a financial burden, draining local government funds, but also a social and environmental burden to residents of local communities far and wide across the country.”
A consistent increase in the number of tyre dumping reported to councils using the Snap Send Solve app reaffirms this trend. And it appears it is not just individuals but businesses that may be responsible for the dumped tyres, with over 80 per cent of illegal dumping reports on Snap Send Solve involving 10 tyres or more.