A week after the Federal Minister for Waste, Trevor Evans visited the controversial Tyremil facility in Queensland, the West Australian government has issued a warning over a used tyre dumping scam that results in victims being thousands of dollars out of pocket and thousands of used tyres illegally dumped.
According to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) which is managing the investigation, the scam targets tyre retailers and vehicle wrecking yards in Perth, with the offender promising to dispose of worn-out tyres substantially cheaper than legitimate tyre recyclers.
The offender dumps the scrap tyres at properties they have leased. These have included storage lockers, vacant land lots and back yards of rented homes. The offender then abandons the property, leaving the owner with the problem – and cost – of disposing of the tyres. For one property owner this has resulted in a disposal bill of more than $100,000. The advice for tyre retailers and vehicle wreckers is to check that any contractor hired to dispose of their used tyres is legitimate.
Businesses need to be careful
Allowing used tyres to be transported by unauthorised operators is an offence under the Environmental Protection (Controlled Waste) Regulations 2004 attracting a penalty of up to $25,000.
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, senior manager of Waste Operations Matt Warnock, said business should tread carefully when it comes to tyre disposal.
“Businesses disposing of used tyres have a legal responsibility to ensure that any contractor who transports their used tyres is licensed to do so,” Warnock said.
“Used tyres pose an environmental pollution risk mainly due the potential discharges and emissions from tyre fires.
“If an operator’s price seems too good to be true, you can check whether they are licensed with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. The unauthorised transport of a controlled waste and abandonment of waste are serious offences. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (Section 49A), abandoning waste carries a maximum penalty of $62,500 for an individual and $125,000 for a body corporate for each offence.
Property owners and agents are reminded to perform due diligence before leasing a property and ensure regular inspections are carried out on properties to ensure illegal activities are not taking place.
This investigation is being managed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Lanie Chopping encouraged landlords and property managers to carry out thorough checks of prospective tenants, as well as regular inspections of the property during the lease.
“Four property inspections a year are allowed for residential tenancies after giving at least seven days’ notice, so landlords should consider scheduling an inspection soon after a new tenant moves in,” Chopping said.
“I have issued bulletins today to landlords, and vehicle repairers and sellers, to warn them about the tyre dumping issue and how they can play their part in preventing this activity.”
Illegal dumping can be reported to DWER’s Pollution Watch Hotline on 1300 784 782 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All end-of-life tyres from Porsche Centres across the country will be collected and disposed of by a Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA)-accredited recycler following Porsche’s decision to join the scheme.
Diageo and Pilot Lite say they have created “the world’s first ever 100% plastic free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood.” The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker scotch whisky in early 2021.
A review of the Queensland Container Refund Scheme (CRS), now in its second year, has examined critical aspects of the performance of the CRS and its governance. CRS has a target return rate of 85 per cent by the year 2021/22.
Small and medium sized businesses can access up to $100,000 each through the $12 million Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) to solve environmental and waste challenges.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said that this was a great opportunity for Australian businesses to think outside the box and “develop clever ideas that can help solve policy issues within Government.”
Andrews said that this round of BRII aims to find more effective ways of dealing with challenges that affect oceans, water and soil quality as well as recycling technologies.
The five challenges for this round of funding are:
- Revolutionising agricultural spray application
- Turning farm crops into a renewable hydrogen source
- Counting fish using advanced technologies
- Automating the detection of whales at sea
- Turning office trash into energy treasure
“Not only does this initiative help government agencies with tailored solutions that mean better value for taxpayers, it also gives start-ups and businesses the chance to develop new products and technologies for the global market.
“Boosting opportunities for businesses to innovate, and doing things more efficiently within government will be crucial as we chart our COVID-19 economic recovery,” she added
Australian start-ups and small and medium businesses can submit proposals for ideas that address the challenges. Successful applicants will receive grants of up to $100,000 to further develop ideas and test feasibility over three months.
The most successful of these ideas may then be eligible for a grant of up to $1 million to develop a prototype or proof of concept over a maximum of 18 months. Relevant government agencies will have the option to purchase these solutions at the end of the proof of concept stage.
Applications close on 10 September 2020.