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How to Dispose of Old Tyres in Australia

Steffen
June 25,2024
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After tens of thousands of kilometres on the road, the time will eventually come for your car’s tyres to be retired and replaced. But how are these old tyres supposed to be disposed of properly, and what is involved in the process?

With approximately 50 million vehicle tyres reaching the end of their useful life across Australia, it may be surprising to learn that a mere 16% of these tyres undergo recycling locally (source: Sustainability Victoria). The rest of these expired tyres are either shipped overseas for processing, end up in a landfill, or are illegally dumped.

What are car tyres made of?

Car tyres mainly consist of a blend of various types of rubber, including natural, synthetic and compound rubbers. Depending on the make of the tyre, other fillers such as latex, fabric and metal wire are also used in the manufacture of vehicle tyres.

The material composition of most tyres means they are a fire hazard and considered a flammable substance. This is one of the main reasons why they are classified as a form of hazardous waste in most parts of Australia and require specialised disposal and recycling methods.

How to dispose of used car tyres

Old or used car tyres can be disposed of at dedicated tyre recycling facilities across Australia. Some of these locations may charge a small fee for accepting the old tyres, so check the available options near you beforehand.

When replacing your old tyres at a mechanic or a service centre, they may be able to accept your used tyres and recycle them through an accredited recycling facility. This is part of the Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) scheme to support recycling efforts for old tyres.

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What happens to car tyres during recycling?

During recycling, disposed tyres are cut into smaller pieces for easier loading and transportation. Once they are delivered at a recycling facility, the tyres are separated further into their constituent materials, such as rubber, textile, and steel.

Each of these materials is processed separately to be reused in the manufacturing of other goods, such as artificial turf, conveyor belts, and brake pads, or as alternative fuel sources for energy and cement producers.

What not to do when disposing of car tyres

Proper disposal of car tyres should always be carried out to avoid the potential environmental impact that can arise from pollution. Aside from the environmental concerns, there may also be serious legal implications such as fines or even jail time if tyres are not properly disposed of.

 

  • Leaving them on the side of the road
  • Getting a flat tyre is not an excuse for disposing of car tyres on the side of the road, or anywhere else that is not a proper disposal area. Doing so is considered an act of illegal dumping in Australia, which carries with it severe consequences for offending individuals.

 

  • Throwing them in skip bins
  • Skip bins may seem like an appropriate place to toss our old tyres, but this is actually false. General waste skip bins or other types of bins are not suitable places to dispose of tyres as this will cause the tyres to end up at a landfill. Tyres are a non-biodegradable material, meaning that they will not break down in the landfill and may even contaminate the environment as they degrade.

 

  • Burning tyres
  • Tyres should not be set on fire as a way to dispose of them. Not only is this potentially hazardous as the tyre material is very flammable, but tyres will release harmful chemical fumes when they are burnt. These fumes pose a danger to both human life and the rest of the environment, which is why burning tyres should never be an option.

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What happens to car tyres during recycling?

During recycling, disposed tyres are cut into smaller pieces for easier loading and transportation. Once they are delivered at a recycling facility, the tyres are separated further into their constituent materials, such as rubber, textile, and steel.

Each of these materials is processed separately to be reused in the manufacturing of other goods, such as artificial turf, conveyor belts, and brake pads, or as alternative fuel sources for energy and cement producers.

Alternative ways to dispose of car tyres

Recycling is the best way to dispose of car tyres, but it is not the only way to do so in an environmentally friendly way. Car tyres are extremely durable, making them suitable for reuse in other ways:

 

  • Home gym weight
  • Car tyres are heavy and not prone to breaking, making them useful as a weight or exercise tool. There are even specific exercise routines that incorporate old tyres as a core part of movements.

 

  • Makeshift planter
  • Many people find tyres convenient to use as garden planters. By simply filling them with soil, they create an easy and efficient way to grow a variety of plants. This method offers a practical way to reuse old tyres without polluting the environment.

 

  • Outdoor furniture
  • Tyres can be upcycled into various types of outdoor furniture. There is a wealth of creative ideas online about how to transform old tyres into unique stools, tables, and other functional pieces. These projects not only help in reducing waste but also add a touch of personality and creativity to your outdoor space.

At Ridly, we believe that everyone has a responsibility to play in keeping our environment clean and healthy for the future. As the pioneers of the first carbon-neutral rubbish removal services in Sydney, we offer reliable rubbish removal for all types of household waste including hard rubbish, cardboard waste, and e-waste.

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