The scrap tire industry shares something in common with many other recycling industries, and that's the fact that it's much easier to collect and process material into a recyclable form than it is to find end users willing to purchase it. If you were to survey the firms listed in the directory of scrap tire processors located on pages 16-21 in this issue, you would find that most of them have a lot more material coming in, in the form of whole scrap tires, than going out as tire-derived fuel, crumb rubber or other processed material sold to end users.
Last year, recognizing this situation, states across the nation, as well as some federal government agencies and national recycling organizations, embraced market development as the key to making recycling work.
Their efforts were strongly reinforced when President Clinton signed an executive order Oct. 20 requiring federal agencies to increase their procurement of recycled products, including retreads.
Market development initiatives include financial and technical assistance and, in some states, legislative action.
One of the greatest barriers state and federal market development programs have identified is the lack of capital for starting up or expanding recycling businesses. To address this barrier, many states now offer financial assistance, often in the form of grants, loans and/or tax credits, to launch or expand recycling activities.
In the case of tires, 46 states have market development incentives, which besides loans, grants and tax credits, can take the form of preferential procurement policies, rebates and reimbursements to companies that are end users of recycled tire-derived materials and products.
Two states, Oklahoma and Texas, offer incentives to processors, who are reimbursed 85 cents for each tire processed.
Thirty-three states have a mechanism, such as a disposal fee or tire tax, to fund scrap tire programs, but more often than not those funds go toward scrap tire management-collection, storage, process, cleanup etc.-rather than to provide financial incentives to recycling businesses.
However, in 1993 some encouraging market development initiatives emerged that could begin to affect the future allocation of scrap tire funds.
In Washington state, for example, the Clean Washington Center is providing financial assistance to a private firm to help develop more cost-effective equipment for asphalt-rubber applications. Similarly, Missouri awarded a grant to a firm to develop ground rubber for asphalt and other uses.
California awarded $1 million for research and business development operations in the areas of tire recycling, reuse, recovery or reduction, and annual appropriations are expected to remain at this level.
Since 1990, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has awarded more than $550,000 in grants and loans to develop markets for recycled waste tires. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Waste Tire Management/Recovery Grant program has funded 57 projects at a cost of about $1.4 million and has rebated another $1.5 million to qualifying companies that reuse or recycle scrap tires.
Florida, Illinois and Maryland are among the states to watch in 1994 for scrap tire management projects and technical assistance programs.
Florida also was one of two states, with New Jersey, to move forward on the use of ground rubber in asphalt pavement despite the delay in the implementation of the federal mandate.
The Florida Department of Transportation adopted a specification for rubberized asphalt that will be included in all bid contracts this year.
In New Jersey, the governor signed an executive order calling for the incorporation of recycled rubber in at least 40 percent of the asphalt pavements laid by the state by the year 2001, if the rubberized asphalt is competitively priced with conventional asphalt. This order goes well beyond any federal requirements.
On the legislative front for 1994, two states-Alabama and New Mexico-are expected to introduce tire recycling bills. New Mexico is one of only three states that has no laws or regulations directed specifically at waste tires (Alaska and Delaware are the others).
Five other states are either drafting or revising regulations for scrap tire management and/or enforcement of scrap tire management programs.
Ms. Sikora is publisher/editor of Scrap Tire News, a publication of Recycling Research Institute (RRI), based in Suffield, Conn.
For more information: RRI has published its 6th Annual State Legislative Review, a comprehensive listing of current state scrap tire laws and regulations, plus a forecast of action expected in 1994.
Also available is the 1994 Scrap Tire Users Directory, a comprehensive reference manual with more than 1,750 listings of companies and organizations covering all aspects of the scrap tire industry.
Contact: RRI, P.O. Box 2221, Merrifield, Va. 22116; (703) 280-9112.