NSW leads the way on scrap tyres
The most far-reaching waste management reforms in Australia have given New South Wales tighter regulations, tougher penalties and the power to do away with unlawful stockpiles of waste tyres.
Under the reforms, which came into effect on 1 November 2014, it will be harder for "cowboys" to avoid licensing laws and payment of the waste levy.
Australia’s largest tyre recycler, Tyrecycle, has welcomed the reforms and congratulated the NSW Government and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on their work to tighten controls on the industry.
The EPA now has greater power to restrict the potential for THE illegal operation of waste dumps while supporting the work of legitimate operators.
The changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 included a reduction in the licensing threshold for the processing, recovery, storage and disposal of waste; a requirement to track waste tyres within NSW; and changes to the waste levy framework.
Previously an environment protection licence was required for more than 50,000 tonnes or 5,000 waste tyres stored at any one time. The new threshold will kick in at 5,000 tonnes or 500 waste tyres. In addition, loads of waste tyres greater than 200kg will have to be tracked outside NSW by both consignor and transporter.
Tyrecycle Chief Executive Jim Fairweather congratulated the NSW Government and EPA on the new regulations.
"The reforms will also make it clear to waste generators, including manufacturers, which collectors of waste tyres are legitimate and environmentally responsible," he said.
"The EPA will now be able to begin prosecuting known rogues for land pollution and they will be liable for penalties of up to $1 million," he said.
"It can also immediately crack down on any facility that is not fire-safe.
"From March 2015 waste tracking requirements will apply to waste loads of more than 10 tonnes from the metropolitan levy area to outside NSW. The EPA now has the power to require GPS tracking devices.
"And from July 2015 it will be an offence to transport waste tyres for disposal more than 150km unless it is to one of the two nearest legal disposal facilities."
Mr Fairweather said the reforms meant most or all waste tyres could now be properly disposed of in NSW.
The inappropriate management of waste tyres poses risks to human health and the environment.
Mr Fairweather said NSW had up to 20 million end-of-life equivalent passenger units (EPUs) each year, about 25 per cent of which were currently processed by three licensed facilities, including Tyrecycle.
Tyrecycle is Australia’s largest tyre recycler, currently processing more than 110,000 tonnes of waste rubber each year.
The recovered material is used to make new tyres, athletic tracks, brake pads, building insulation, drainage aggregates for new roads, non-slip mats and fuel for energy recovery.
Mr Fairweather said the changes would create a level playing field across the waste industry and result in significant environmental benefits through a reduction in the number of tyres sent to landfill.
"For every waste tyre recycled we recover 85 per cent of the rubber and 95 per cent of the steel needed to make a new tyre, as well as offsetting the greenhouse gases emitted in making new tyres," Mr Fairweather said.
"If tyres are dumped, burnt or sent to landfill instead of being properly recycled they leach toxins and other hazardous compounds into the environment"
Stockpiled tyres can become a fire hazard and may also provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.