TORONTO-Scrap tire recycling will be successful when the properties meet or exceed those of virgin rubber; when the processing is easier; and when the total economics are in line with conventional processes, according to Ted Pattenden, president of Toronto-based National Rubber Co. Inc. He and others in the recycling industry addressed the Rubber Association of Canada's Rubber Recycling Symposium and Exhibition, held March 3-4 in Toronto in connection with the RAC's annual meeting. The speakers touched on many of the current ways to dent the scrap tire problem, including recycled goods, rubberized asphalt and tire-derived fuel.
RAC President Brian E. James said reducing the amount of rubber products scrapped can be just as important as finding markets for recycled items.
As most recycled rubber products still must be used in static items such as mats and mud flaps, rather than dynamic products like tires and hoses, it makes sense to find ways to reduce the amount of rubber scrapped, Mr. James said. In this regard, the tire industry has made good strides, with tire life basically tripling to about 60,000 miles. But he also said consumer education could improve actual tire life by 30 percent.
In regard to post-consumer tire handling, Goodyear's Dave Morgan said a waste management system must cover three vital areas: collection, processes and markets.
``Any enterprise that lacks one of these three won't be successful,'' said Mr. Morgan, also chairman of the RAC's Task Force for Scrap Tire Disposal. Rather than find one major usage to erase the scrap tire problem, Mr. Morgan envisions someday there being ``75 2-percent solutions'' that together might ease the situation.
With regards to the tires already in piles, the best disposal bet is probably tire-derived fuel, as crumb rubber producers generally want newly discarded tires, said Michael Blumenthal, executive director of the Scrap Tire Management Council.