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Illegal Tyre Dumping Costing Motorists Millions

(Queensland Courier Mail) Queensland motorists have likely paid millions of dollars in so-called environment charges for used tyres only for them to be illegally dumped.

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One pile of 40,000 tyres discovered in a wetland melaleuca conservation area south of Brisbane is the latest evidence of the illegal dumping.

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Now Queensland’s Environmental Protection Agency is writing 900 letters to Queensland tyre retailers warning them not to deal with cowboy tyre contractors.

The Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of Queensland congratulated the EPA on the moves, which will see garages subjected to spot checks next year.

"Motorists have been paying a fee but the full cost has not gone towards the legal disposal or recycling," WCRAQ executive director Rick Ralph said.

"You have to question who has pocketed that money.

"No one can know how many tyres have disappeared or the amount of money that has gone into that cash economy." Storing, transporting and disposing or recycling of tyres is regulated by the EPA, which charges fees and requires documentation to track the waste.

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Retailers commonly pay contractors to dispose of used tyres and pass on the cost through an "environment disposal fee" – which can be up to $7 for larger passenger tyres.

Ralph said unlicensed operators had charged garages as little as $1.10 while evading EPA fees.

One legitimate operator, who asked not to be named, said he had lost business to the "cowboys" in the trade.

"Instead of going through the correct channels, they just go out and collect tyres.

"We have lost business and it is not stopping."

Another tyre recycler, Dean Watters, of Environmental Tyre Logistics, said the tyres were either dumped "out in the bush or down mine shafts."

Ralph called on motorists to check with their garage that old tyres were being legally transported and then disposed or recycled legally.

Both Logan City Council and the EPA are taking action against Robert Penny, of Thorsborne St, Beenleigh, over a pile of 40,000 tyres on Cairns St. in Loganholme.

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A council spokesperson said the site was in a conservation area and had issued Penny a $1500 fine.

The EPA also has an outstanding order against Penny, which stated the tyres were "a fire hazard leading to potential for noxious smoke emissions, contaminated run-off to waterways and vegetation damage".

The order asked for waste tracking receipts and said the tyres were also a potential breeding ground for "disease vectors such as mosquitoes".

Penny told The Courier-Mail he didn’t know a licence was necessary to store the tyres and that he was being "harassed" by regulators. "I’m just trying to run a business here – we are part of the clean-up process," he said. (Tire Review/Akron)

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