Our Sustainability Initiatives

By processing the waste tyres generated in Australia, ATRA members minimize damage to human health and the environment, both locally and globally. ATRA members assist in the creation of new businesses and jobs through the realisation of cost-effective and environmentally sound recycling activities. Income for tyre recyclers is almost solely generated through the collection fee applied to tyre retailers. This fee may at times be passed on to the customer and in many instances is simply incorporated into the retail price of the tyre. The collection charge on retailers varies based on the costs of operation. Offshore export, transport, shipping, container, electricity and regulatory compliance costs, along with the presence of illegitimate operators undercutting prices to the legitimate industry all impact on the used tyre recycling sector. ATRA serves the tyre recycling industry in an advocacy role with the public, government and associated stakeholders; and promotes the use of recycled rubber in a range of consumer and industrial products. ATRA members convert used tyres into shred for use as alternate fuels; to rubber crumb and powder for use in roads, playgrounds and industrial adhesives; and whole or part for use in civil construction for roads, retaining walls and sound barriers. ATRA’s constitution prohibits the export of whole or baled tyres due to concerns with environment and human health. This position has resulted in ATRA members investing millions of dollars in new shredding equipment to meet this standard.

Bitumen and asphalt

Rubber crumb is incorporated into bitumen and asphalt as plasticizer to create a more flexible and hard wearing road surface. This provides greater tyre grip, reduced road noise, less wear-and-tear and therefore reduced maintenance costs for road managers.

Recycled track and field surfaces

Recycled rubber is used under synthetic grass for softness, particularly useful for sporting grounds. The grass is often injected directly into the recycled rubber and a polyurethane binder.

Retaining walls

Tyres are chipped and used as drainage aggregates in the construction of roads and drains. Chipped tyres are also used in embankments for road construction, reducing the weight and outwards pressure versus other materials, such as rock. This helps to lower overall construction costs.

Tyre Derived Fuels (TDF)

TDF replaces coal in cement kilns and other industrial processes in developed Asian markets such as Japan and South Korea and is widely used throughout Europe and the US. The high calorific value of this material results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a detailed analysis of these benefits is available here The World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in their report, End of Life Tires, make the following comments in relation to both the Greenhouse Gas and additional emissions associated with TDF: TDF emissions, when tires are burned in a controlled environment, are no greater than those produced by other fuels. The carbon content per unit of energy is less than coal and petroleum coke, offering potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In some situations, using TDF instead of virgin fossil fuels reduces nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide and carbon dioxide emissions. Natural rubber content in tires (25% or more) is regarded as carbon neutral, as rubber plantations sequester carbon from the atmosphere during their life time. Any ash created generally contains fewer heavy metals than ash from coal combustion. In cement kilns the rubber provides energy and the iron and sulfur are incorporated into the cement. (Iron is normally added to the cement-making process; sulfur is absorbed and converted to sulfates.) The WBCSD complete report is available WBCSD ELT Report Additional TDF emissions data can be found Scrap Tyres and TDF emissions data. This includes that, The U.S. EPA testing has shown that (a) tire ash residues contain lesser heavy metals than some coals, and (b) tire combustion results in less NOx emissions compared to burning high-sulfur coal.


Bales of whole tyres are unsustainable from multiple perspectives including holding water and therefore incubation for mosquitos and the diseases they carry For information relating to ATRA”s position on whole baled tyre exports a report outlining ATRA’s position to Tyre Stewardship Australia (urging TSA to similarly ban the process) is attached and can be read here