Scrap tyres present a significant issue in Australia and internationally. Due to the unique recycling and disposal methods required, over half of the tyres that reach end of life each year are disposed of to landfills, stockpiled, illegally dumped or categorised as unknown waste. In 2009-2010 approximately 48 million car tyres reached end of life and of those 48 million only about 34% were recycled. If scrap tyres are not disposed of correctly they have potential to create many issues, for example:
- Taking up valuable landfill space, 75% of the space a tyre occupies is void and provides potential for the harbouring of rodents and other pests.
- Tyre stockpiles/landfills are perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other vermin. Also tyre stockpiles have contributed to the introduction of non-native mosquitoes to new areas when scrap tyres are transported.
- If ignited (difficult but possible) scrap tyres burn extremely hot and are nearly impossible to extinguish, this is due to the 75% void space in a whole waste tyre and the fact that the tyres are often packed extremely densely preventing the flame from being extinguished. Once ignited the tyres produce a dense black smoke which impairs vision and pollutes the air with toxic gas emissions.
- The cost of monitoring and removal, and many more issues.