Thursday, December 07, 2006

Getting A Handle On The Scrap Tire Problem

Dec 5: A detailed report by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) says that nearly 87 percent of disposed tires each year are put to a new use. RMA’s report -- Scrap Tire Markets In The United States -- which is based upon a comprehensive survey of state scrap tire and solid waste officials and industry participants, indicates that 259 million of 299 million scrap tires generated in 2005 went to an end use market. By comparison, in 1990, only 11 percent of scrap tires was consumed by a market. State cleanup laws and growing markets are helping to alleviate serious environmental issue. Additionally, the number of tires sitting in stockpiles has been reduced to 188 million -- down from 275 million in 2003; and more than 1 billion scrap tires were stockpiled in 1990. RMA, which represents tire manufacturers, ranked states by their overall performance in dealing with scrap tire issues and how states improved since the previous scrap tire report in 2003.

According to the report, South Carolina, North Carolina and Maine lead the nation in a performance ranking of dealing with scrap tires. Rankings are based on percent of tires going to end use markets, number of stockpiled tires, stockpiled tires per capita, number of tires land-disposed and the percent of the number of tires/per capita land-disposed in 2005. Texas, Alabama, Michigan and Ohio were tops in improving the scrap tire situation in 2005 as compared to 2003. Michael Blumenthal, RMA senior technical director said, “Tire manufacturers have been working hard for 16 years to promote environmentally and economically sound solutions to reduce scrap tire waste. Additionally, states’ scrap tire cleanup laws and regulations and market development efforts have substantially reduced the nation’s scrap tire piles.”

The largest market for scrap tires is tire-derived-fuel (TDF) -- especially as a supplemental fuel for cement kilns, electric utilities and pulp and paper mills. TDF accounted for some 155 million scrap tires in 2005; an increase of 20% since 2003. Other major uses are ground rubber and construction applications. Ground rubber use, e.g athletic and recreational surfaces, rubber-modified asphalt, carpet underlay, flooring material, dock bumpers and railroad crossing blocks; accounted for more than 30 million tires in 2005. Road and landfill construction, septic tank leach fields and other construction applications consumed nearly 50 million tires in 2005.

The report also indicates that since 1990, the number of scrap tires in stockpiles has been reduced by 81 percent. Of the remaining stockpiles, 85 percent are concentrated in 7 states: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Access a release from RMA (
click here). Access the complete 93-page report (click here). Access RMA's Scrap Tire Management website for extensive information (click here). Access U.S. EPA's Scrap Tire Management website for additional information (click here). [*Solid]