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Bridgestone joins Tyre Stewardship Australia

Done deal: From left, Bridgestone Australia managing director Andrew Moffatt, parliamentary secretary to the minister for the environment Bob Baldwin and Tyre Stewardship Australia chairman Gerry Morvell.

Tyre clean-up initiative gains major player as Bridgestone joins TSA

28 Jan 2015

TYRE giant Bridgestone has joined the national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme helping to ease the growing pressure of Australian used vehicle tyres, supporting the development of new recycling technology and improved industry education.

The Japanese tyre-maker joins a number of global tyre manufacturing brands which have already jumped on board with the industry-lead initiative to address and counter unsafe, illegal or environmentally harmful practices when dealing with their discarded products.

Kicking off in June last year, the scheme allows manufacturers to play a part in every stage of a tyre's life – not just the production – in an effort to boost the number of tyres ending up in recycling processes rather than the tip.

In Australia, only about 16 per cent of used tyres are put to further use through recycling methods, but with a growing number of major brands getting involved, TSA chairman Gerry Morvell said more of the 48 million waste tyres will avoid landfill.

“We welcome Bridgestone to Tyre Stewardship Australia,” he said. “Their participation will add to the considerable strength of this cooperative industry endeavour and will help address the physical management of end-of-life tyres.

“We are confident that Bridgestone will also play a major role in gaining public recognition and support for the industry’s efforts to address this environmental challenge.” The announcement that Bridgestone would join the TSA was made at its Queensland factory this week, where parliamentary secretary for the environment Bob Baldwin joined Bridgestone Australia managing director Andrew Moffatt and Mr Morvell.

As a part of the scheme, companies signed up to the TSA contribute to the expansion of tyre recycling in Australia as well as exploring new uses for the recycled materials.

Funding for the scheme is gathered from a 25 cent levy applied to each passenger tyre sold by a participating company, and with the involvement of every tyre manufacturer retailing in Australia, about $12 million would be raised each year at a cost of only one dollar to the customer when renewing all four tyres.

Bridgestone joins the list of major manufacturers already signed-up to the TSA alongside Continental, Goodyear Dunlop, Michelin, Pirelli, Toyo and Yokohama.

At the official announcement event in the Brisbane, Mr Moffatt said that it was the responsibility of tyre-makers to ensure the least environmental impact from its products, starting with the design.

“At Bridgestone, we take a multi-faceted approach to ensuring we do everything we can to lower our impact on the environment,” he said.

“This includes our fuel-saving low rolling resistance Ecopia technology... our Bandag retread process, which ensures tyre casings are reused rather than wasted, and our commitment to use only authorised tyre recyclers throughout our dealer network.

“We also extend this commitment to our physical facilities, such as the rainwater harvesting and solar energy program at our Bandag Wacol site, through to our fleet of hybrid vehicles.” Breaking a tyre down to its constituent components is a complex process but uses for the resulting materials are numerous and sustainable.

Steel and nylon derivatives can be reprocessed in the same way as materials from any other source, while the blend of synthetic and natural rubber compounds is granulated and used in flooring products, road surfaces, engineering applications or even as a fuel source.

Through a kiln process called pyrolysis, flexible rubber can also be turned into a hard imitation wood product named Ebonite – the material used to make bowling balls amongst other products.

TSA is lead by tyre manufacturers and retailers, backed by the Australian Motor Industry Federation and the Minerals Council of Australia, with support from federal and state/territory governments.

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