Volkswagen says it is the first automaker in Australia to join a program aimed at responsibly disposing of used tires that accumulate by the hundreds of thousands annually.
In an agreement signed with Tire Stewardship Australia (TSA), 100 VW dealers nationwide will have used tires disposed of by a TSA-accredited collector or recycler.
TSA says Australians discard the equivalent of 56 million tires each year. This adds up to 450,000 tons of material, only 10% of which is recycled locally.
Michael Bartsch, managing director-Volkswagen Group Australia, says the brand is the first auto importer to become a TSA contributor.
“Tires are a byproduct of the car sales business, and the necessity to have used tires responsibly disposed of or appropriately recycled is incumbent upon us,” Bartsch says in a statement.
“Through TSA most of the major tire brands are financially contributing to ensure the environmental impact of their business is continually diminished.”
VW Australia joins Goodyear, Bridgestone, Continental, Pirelli, Michelin, Kumho, Toyo and Yokohama as a TSA member.
“Our intention is to wherever possible deal only with tire manufactures who are TSA co-signatories,” Bartsch says.
TSA has 1,600 accredited retailers, recyclers and collectors that are working together to ensure end-of-life tires are managed in an environmentally sound manner.
The group thus far has committed A$4 million ($2.8 million) to projects that recycle end-of-life tires as feedstock to create products such as crumb for roads, permeable paving in cities and soft tracks for equine and sports stadiums.
CEO Lina Goodman says one of TSA’s key objectives is developing new markets for tire-derived products.
TSA says other usages for end-of-life tires and tire-derived products include road surfacing, soft playground surfacing, brake pads, industrial and commercial flooring, explosives in civil engineering and fuels for energy recovery.
It is offering scholarships for research into the long-term use of end-of-life tires.