Australian Greens spokesperson for waste and recycling, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, said today that Tasmanians would be questioning why they currently pay a $5 levy if old tyres are not recycled or disposed of properly and only end up polluting our environment.
"Today we are seeing another terrible tyre stockpile fire that has the potential to pollute our air and water in the Tamar Valley," said Senator Whish-Wilson.
"These tyre fires happen far too often in Tasmania with a series of incidents over the past few years including the 2012 Longford tyre fire that the Tasmanian Fire Service believe was deliberately lit.
"Tasmanians are doing the right thing and paying the tyre levy but it seems too often all that happens is that stockpiles end up on fire with harmful consequences for our environment and public health?
"The current $5 levy should be going to support sustainable Tasmanian recycling efforts rather than ending up in someone's pocket while another pile of tyres burns threatening our environment and public health.
"I have questioned the Federal Government on the appropriate disposal of so-called "end-of-life tyres" and options to classify them as hazardous waste and also to develop a mandatory tyre product stewardship scheme - but to date neither has occurred.
"What we need in Tasmania is the infrastructure to handle tyre recycling, such as exists in South Australia, and a related business model that will mean sustainable profits and jobs.
"If we had a container deposit scheme, like South Australia, we would have the economies of scale to have the kinds of recycling hubs and depots that would also take in other waste streams like tyres for processing," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.