Environmentally conscious

11 May 2022

Bruce McIntosh is the in driver’s seat at the Tasmanian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (TACC). He sat down with Australasian Automotive to discuss environmental efforts in automotive.

The environment is a hot topic at the moment and while the automotive industry may not spring to mind when talking about sustainability and waste reduction efforts, maybe it should.

As a sector, we are working hard to help Australia clean up its act. And one of the major ways we can drive change is through working with policymakers, sharing industry insights and making recommendations.

Take End-of-Life Vehicles for example. Each year, over 750,000 vehicles reach the end of their economic lives, creating more than one million tonnes of waste. It gets worse. The number of internal combustion engine vehicles that will be removed from Australia’s roads is expected to grow exponentially.

TACC – along with its Victorian counterpart, VACC – and its dismantling and recycling member-businesses, are collaborating with authorities to identify options for government to introduce an End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) program to Australia. We are calling for increased investment and research toward an industry-led and federally funded national initiative. All states and territories need to be on the same page if we are to turn this around.

And time is of the essence. The importance of better ELV management has increased and will continue to do so in line with government policy related to increased uptake of Zero and Low Emission Vehicles.

Now let’s zero in on tyres. Millions of tyres reach their end-of-life every year in Australia, with 1.3 million passenger tyres thrown away in Tasmania alone. It’s a real problem. Don’t just take my word for it, you can see for yourself – there’s a field in Mowbray, Launceston that’s a sea of blackness. Quite a confronting sight, particularly the bird’s eye view from Google Maps.

I’ve been in contact with a Senior Government Advisor as waste reduction is becoming a key focus, and many Tasmanian businesses are interested in looking for ways to reuse and recycle waste products in innovative ways.

One way to reuse these tyres is crumb rubber. It is manufactured by shredding tyres, removing unsuitable components, and then grinding them into crumbs. It can then be blended with bitumen to build and resurface the roads we drive on each day.

Sounds like a plan to me. Government clearly agrees and has allocated $4 million to work with industry to invest in a crumb rubber plant.

Above are just some of the many ways we can address waste reduction. It is all about working together and looking for opportunities.

Words: TACC State Manager, Bruce McIntosh. To be featured in Australasian Automotive June 2022.

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