What to do if you have waste tyres
If you have more than 5 tonnes of waste tyres or more than 500 waste tyres (or waste tyre products) from off site, you may need an Environment Protection License and consent from council or the appropriate planning authority.
The EPA’s Guide to Licensing provides a general guide to EPA’s environment protection licensing requirements and provides information to help you determine if you are required to hold an environment protection license and the steps to be followed to obtain a license.
How to manage waste tyres safely
Whether you need a licence or not, stockpiled tyres can present a potential fire hazard and strict conditions must be applied to their storage to minimise the risk of fire danger and to keep communities safe. Once alight, rubber tyres are extremely difficult to extinguish, generating a large amount of heat and a large volume of smoke. Stockpiles of tyres can also create the perfect environment for vermin and mosquitos to breed.
It is important to store waste tyres or tyre products in accordance with Fire and Rescue NSW Fire Safety Guidelines (PDF 815KB) and Guideline: Fire safety in waste facilities (PDF 826KB).
Tyres that are used, rejected or unwanted are classified as waste tyres and need to be managed responsibly. This includes casings, seconds, shredded, crumbed tyres or tyre pieces. Tyres that are retreaded or intended to be used for retreading or recycling must also be managed as waste tyres. The NSW Government supports Tyre Stewardship Australia and the national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme.
Dispose of waste tyres to a lawful place
Section 143 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) requires that waste must be transported to a place that can lawfully accept it.
Tyre retailers, tyre retreaders and the waste tyre transporter can each be guilty of an offence when waste tyres are transported to a place that cannot lawfully be used as a waste facility.
Don't risk a $8,000 fine or prosecution – penalties are up to $5 million.
There are also requirements under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 for tracking loads of waste tyres greater than 20 tyres, or 200kg within NSW. The online Integrated Waste Tracking Solution (IWTS) has been developed to allow both generators and transporters to record the required information.
Check where your waste is going
Regularly check that waste tyres from your business are taken to a lawful place. At a minimum the facility must have consent from council to operate.
- It will have a consent number issued by the council in which it is located. You can and should check this number with council.
- If it is a large facility it will have an environment protection licence.
Search the POEO Act public register to identify whether the waste facility has an environment protection licence under the POEO Act (if required) to accept waste tyres for storage, processing or disposal.
Keep written records
Keep accurate written records to prove that your waste tyres are taken to a lawful place.
You should record and retain the following information
1. Details of the waste transporter
- Company name and address
- Vehicle registration
- Driver details
- Date and time of transport
- Quantity of tyres
Regularly confirm with the waste transporter, in writing, where your waste tyres are being disposed.
2. Details of the waste facility
- Name and address of the waste facility where the tyres are processed or disposed
- Contact person (name and phone number)
- Environment protection licence number (if required)
- Details about the development consent (if required)
Keep any records such as dockets or receipts from the waste facility.
You can be asked to supply information
Keep written statements from your waste transporter and the waste facility (such as a letter identifying where your waste tyres are disposed or processed).
Be warned. At any time you can be asked to supply information about the transport and disposal of your waste tyres.
Getting consent to process waste tyres
A company wishing to start operating a waste tyre processing facility must first contact the local council and ensure the activity is permitted in the proposed location. Council will then refer the application to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) if required.
Resource recovery order and exemption for waste tyres
Export of waste tyres
In 2020, the Australian, state and territory governments, and the Australian Local Government Association, as members of the former Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed that the export of a range of wastes, including tyres, be regulated by the Australian government. This is under the Australian Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020.
The export of waste tyres has been regulated by the Commonwealth since 1 December 2021. See Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water Waste exports webpage for more information.
At the Environment Ministers Meeting in October 2022, it was agreed that the Australian Government add end of life tyres to the Minister’s Product Stewardship Priority List, signalling the intention to regulate should industry not lift its game.