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Tyre stockpiles are a hazard to the Victorian community and environment. They can lead to fires that are very difficult to control. Tyre fires generate hazardous smoke, which can cause a health risk. This is through the inhalation of particles and chemicals.
A number of tyre fires – in Australia and around the world – have demonstrated the risk posed by tyre stockpiles.
About waste tyres
Tyres become waste tyres when they can no longer be used for their original purpose and have been removed from a vehicle.
Tyre volumes are calculated in equivalent passenger units (EPUs). An EPU is based on the typical mass of material in a passenger motor vehicle tyre. A single tyre from a passenger motor vehicle is considered to be 1 EPU. A single tyre from a motor cycle is considered 0.5 EPU. A single tyre from a light truck is considered 2 EPU.
EPU values are available in Schedule 2 (EPU values table) of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021.
Guidance for storing waste tyres
Duty holders do not need a permission to store waste tyres if less than 5m3 (approx. one dump truck) are stored on their premises at any time.
An A09b registration is required to store more than 5m3 and less than or equal to 40 tonnes or 5,000 EPU of waste tyres at a site at any time.
An A09a licence is required to store more than 40 tonnes or 5,000 EPU of waste tyres at a site at any time.
A B04 registration is required to store more than 5m3 of waste tyres at a site at any time for the purpose of silage production.
Irrespective of licences or permits, the General Environmental Duty applies at all times.
It is an offence under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and local laws to burn or dump waste tyres.
- Fire services guideline: Open air storage of new or used tyres (PDF 115KB)
- Safe storage and use of waste tyres for silage production
- Fire services guideline: Indoor storage of new or used tyres (PDF 119KB)
- Fire prevention: combustible recyclable and waste materials (publication 1759)
- Management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials – guideline (publication 1667)
- Managing industrial waste - your duties as a waste producer (publication 1990)
For more information:
- Combustible recyclable and waste materials - how to safely store combustible, recyclable and waste materials (CRWM)
- Permissions - become a permission holder to perform prescribed activities that may cause harm
- Waste Tracker - the waste tracking system to help meet your waste obligations
- Environment Protection Regulations 2021
- Environment Protection Act 2017
Reusing waste tyres
If you manage waste tyres, you have a duty to consider alternatives to disposal. Alternatives include reuse and recycling.
Waste tyres can be reused in other applications including as safety barriers at racing venues and similar activities.
Farmers can use waste tyres to weigh down covers on silage stacks. If the volume of waste tyres used for this purpose exceeds 5 cubic metres:
- Before 1 July 2023 no registration is required
- From 1 July 2023 farmers require a B04 registration to use and store tyres for silage production.
If not used for these purposes, waste tyres should be reprocessed at suitable facilities or shredded before they can be disposed to landfill.
Tyre Stewardship Australia provides accreditation to waste tyre recyclers and collectors.
Unacceptable reuse or disposal of used tyres includes:
- erosion control works
- artificial reefs
- to assist burning of other wastes (e.g., stumps, dead stock)
- drains constructed from half-tyres
- dumping or burial at unlicensed premises.
Classify waste tyres
Before consigning waste tyres for transport, you need to classify them. Whether tyres are whole or in pieces determines their waste classification.
Schedule 5 of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 specifies the waste codes that apply to waste tyres:
- Waste Code T140: Tyres, including tyre pieces greater than 250 millimetres in size measured in any dimension.
- Waste Code T141: Tyre pieces less than 250 millimetres in size measured in any dimension.
Log waste tyre movement
As reportable priority waste, movement or transport of waste tyres must be tracked via EPA’s Waste Tracker. This applies to producers, transporters and receivers.
Waste Tracker is a secure online system that captures:
- The volume and category of waste
- Its source
- Transport arrangements, and
- Reuse, recycling or lawful disposal of the waste.
Waste Tracker provides documented evidence that you are meeting your legal obligations. It also helps EPA identify rogue operators.
If you intend to send or move waste tyres interstate, read EPA’s information on interstate transport of waste.
Check that the tyres have arrived
If you generate, transport or receive waste tyres, you must make sure they arrive somewhere authorised to receive the tyres. This is known as a lawful place.
There are penalties if your waste does not go to a lawful place. These are over $80,000 for individuals and over $410,000 for companies.
There are also penalties for receiving or storing waste tyres without the required permission from EPA. These are over $360,000 for individuals and over $1,800,000 for companies.
Someone convicted of an industrial waste duty offence twice in five years faces up to two years in jail.
Reviewed 31 March 2023