The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is proposing to grant authorisation for Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) to continue its revised Tyre Stewardship Scheme for a further six years.
The scheme aims to increase both the recycling of tyres and the use of products made from recycled tyres in Australia.
Since 2013, when the ACCC first authorised the scheme, TSA has collected a levy from participating tyre importers and directed $2 million of funds from the levy into market research for the development of new products made from recycled tyres.
“We believe the scheme is likely to result in a public benefit by reducing the number of tyres disposed of in landfill, illegally dumped, or exported overseas to be burned unsustainably for fuel,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said. “Used tyres can be reprocessed in Australia to create useful products such as soft-fall playground mats, industrial flooring, and brake pads.”
TSA is currently developing more rigorous accreditation and monitoring of industry participants, and a verification process to track the destination of tyres exported overseas.
“We’re satisfied the voluntary scheme is unlikely to result in any significant public detriment because the industry levy, at 25 cents per tyre, represents a very small portion of the total retail price of tyres. We also note that participants of the scheme are not prohibited from dealing with non-accredited businesses in certain circumstances.
“Although there were some delays in getting the scheme started, we can see it is now gathering momentum. We recognise TSA’s efforts to address concerns about aspects of the scheme and we expect it to continue working with stakeholders in the tyre supply chain and government to make further improvements, including expanding its membership.
“ACCC authorisation means we consider the public benefits of the scheme outweigh the public detriments. It doesn’t represent an official endorsement or a view that this scheme, or indeed any voluntary scheme, is necessarily the best way to address these issues.
“If results haven’t improved significantly in six years, including participation by mining companies and vehicle importers, governments may need to consider implementing effective regulation,” Mr Featherston said.
The ACCC has decided to grant interim authorisation to allow TSA to continue to run the scheme (as authorised by the ACCC in 2013) while the ACCC finalises its assessment of the revised scheme.
The ACCC is seeking submissions from interested parties on its draft determination before making a final decision. Further information about this application for authorisation is available at Tyre Stewardship Australia Limited.
Authorisation is a public process where the ACCC may grant protection from legal action for conduct that might otherwise breach the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Tyre Stewardship Australia seeks authorisation of specific provisions of the guidelines that govern the operation of the Tyre Stewardship Scheme. Broadly, those provisions impose obligations on participants to commit to the environmentally sound use of used tyres and to only deal with accredited businesses along the tyre supply chain. The scheme also imposes a levy of 25 cents (per tyre) on tyre importers.
Participants of the scheme are businesses involved across the entire tyre supply chain and include tyre retailers, importers, recyclers and collectors, fleet operators and local governments across Australia.
The levy is not designed to directly fund recycling of used tyres, but to find and promote new uses for tyre-derived products.
TSA has made a number of changes to the scheme since its inception, including new performance targets, a new suspension mechanism for accredited participants who fail to comply with their obligations and commitments under the scheme and some procedural changes to provide TSA with more flexibility in administrating the scheme.