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Tyre stockpiles are a hazard to the Victorian community and environment, predominantly due to the risk of fire.
Waste tyres can be stored as part of the tyre-processing chain, such as for reuse or recycling. However, they are sometimes collected and stored indefinitely in large quantities as a means of avoiding the costs of proper management. The low cost of stockpiling also undercuts legitimate tyre-processing and recycling businesses, and reduces resource recovery.
A number of tyre fires – in Australia and around the world – have demonstrated the risk posed by tyre stockpiles. Tyre fires are very difficult to control and they generate hazardous smoke, which can cause a health risk through the inhalation of particles and chemicals.
About waste tyres
We describe waste tyres as ‘generated’ when they can no longer be used for their original purpose and are subsequently removed from a vehicle. At this stage, the tyres can be exported overseas or retained locally.
Tyre volumes are presented in equivalent passenger units (EPUs). An EPU is based on the typical mass of material in a passenger motor vehicle tyre.
EPU values are available in Schedule 3 (EPU values table) of the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises and Exemptions), (Industrial Waste Resource) and (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2015.
Table 1 – Examples of typical EPU amounts for different types of tyre.
|Type of tyre||EPU value|
|Tractor small (diameter ≤ 1m high)||15|
|Tractor large (diameter > 1m ≤ to 2m)||25|
|Earthmover small (diameter ≤ 1m high)
|Earthmover medium (diameter > 1m ≤1·5m)
|Earthmover large (diameter >1·5m ≤ 2m)
|Earthmover extra large (diameter > 2m ≤ 3·0m)
|Earthmover giant (diameter > 3m ≤ 4m)
Guidance for storing waste tyres
From 29 April 2015, premises in Victoria with more than 40 tonnes or 5000 equivalent passenger units (EPU) of whole waste tyres at any time require an EPA works approval before they are built or modified, as well as an EPA licence to operate.
The Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) have published guidelines for the safe storage of tyres for both outdoor and indoor locations. Site owners and occupiers should also develop and implement an inventory and management plan for the reuse or disposal of the tyres to ensure excessive numbers of used tyres don't build up.
It is an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and local laws to burn or dump waste tyres.
- Fire services guideline: Open air storage of new or used tyres (PDF 115KB)
- Fire services guideline: Indoor storage of new or used tyres (PDF 119KB)
- Using waste tyres on farms and other private property (publication 1652)
- Management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials – guideline (publication 1667)
For more information:
- Combustible recyclable and waste materials, for information about the safe storage of combustible, recyclable and waste materials (CRWM)
- Licences and works approvals
- Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises and Exemptions), (Industrial Waste Resource) and (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2015
Reusing waste tyres
Waste tyres can be reused in other applications, including, in an acceptable manner:
- as safety barriers at racing venues and similar activities
- by farmers to weigh down covers on silage stacks.
Otherwise, waste tyres should be reprocessed at suitable facilities or shredded before they can be disposed to landfill.
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.
If you are reusing tyres in an acceptable manner and are below the 5000 EPU licensing threshold, then the EPA works approval and licensing requirements do not apply. In some cases, planning approvals may still be needed. All waste tyres should be stored in a way that minimises fire risk and hazards to human health and the environment.
For more information on storing and managing waste tyres on your property, refer to Using waste tyres on farms and other private property (publication 1652).
Prescribed industrial waste (PIW) classifications
This page was copied from EPA's old website. It was last updated on 30 October 2018.
Reviewed 9 December 2021