As the waste tyre industry faces new export bans and government regulations, Environment Protection Authority Victoria says it’s important to develop industry understanding.
Victorian businesses engaged in the transportation, storage, management and disposal of end-of-life tyres need to become familiar with their new obligations under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (EP ACT).
The new Act came into force on 1 July 2021 and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has been liaising with business groups such as Victorian Farmers Federation and Tyre Stewardship Australia to develop industry understanding.
“It’s important for waste tyre generators and everyone in the disposal chain to understand how tyres and tyre-derived products are regulated for the size of operation they are undertaking,” says Mark Rossiter, Executive Director Operations EPA Victoria.
“In particular, they need to know how waste tyres and tyre-derived products are classified, their obligations for transporting them, their obligations for receiving them on site and their obligations for managing risks on site.
“This gains additional importance as the export ban on all whole used or baled tyres comes into effect on 1 December 2021.”
Mark says operators need to become familiar with the new EPA Waste Tracker system (www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/waste/transporting-waste/waste-tracker/sign-up-to-waste-tracker).
“Everyone in the waste chain; those who generate the waste, transport it or receive it, have a duty to ensure that the material is legally disposed of at a lawful place,” he says.
“The new laws allow for harsher penalties but EPA’s goal is to ensure all sectors of the waste industry understand how to comply with them.
“Reportable Priority Waste (RPW), the waste classification for tyres, will be tracked to ensure their origin and destination are captured. Transportation is different from other RPW in that the transporting vehicle does not need to be specifically permitted to carry tyres, but EPA’s intention is to ensure all waste tyres are accounted for.
“There has been significant public expense incurred to clean up waste tyre sites such as those at Numurkah and Stawell. Both created a considerable fire risk and EPA will not tolerate that occurring again.
“Under the new EP Act, there is also a General Environmental Duty (www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/new-laws-and-your-business/general-environmental-duty) that states everyone must reduce the risk of harm from their activities to human health and the environment and from pollution or waste.
“Stockpiled tyres can create an unacceptable fire risk. EPA and the Victorian community have a no tolerance approach to businesses that allow that to happen and we have been actively inspecting. Most businesses will already be doing the right thing but EPA will take enforcement action where necessary to ensure proper regulation of the waste tyre industry.”
For more information visit: www.epa.vic.gov.au