AKRON—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s recall of 6.5 million tires poses many questions, not the least of which is what will happen to all the scrap tires collected by Firestone and Ford Motor Co. dealerships.
The answer, according to John Serumgard, executive vice president of the Scrap Tire Management Council (STMC), is that the extra tires shouldn't cause a strain on the existing scrap management system.
Mr. Serumgard estimated that the recall will create a 2- to 2.5-percent increase overall in scrap tires and shouldn't pose a glut in any particular area.
"What you might see is small increases on an individual, store-by-store basis, and that will be spread all over the country," he said.
In an interview with Tire Business, BFS Executive Vice President John Lampe said all recalled Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires received by the company will be shredded and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, though he offered no further explanation.
The recalled tires, he added, are being replaced at some 8,500 retail locations operated by independent tire dealers, 1,500 company-owned Firestone tire and service centers and 3,100 Ford, Mercury and Mazda auto dealerships.
Bridgestone/Firestone has a disposal system in place among its company-owned stores that manages large numbers of scrap tires constantly, said Tim Bent, BFS senior environmental manager.
"We've spoken with all of our contractors, and they're ready, willing and able to handle this," Mr. Bent said. "We have management systems in place across the country to manage all of our scrap tires from all of our various outlets, wherever those are."
Mr. Bent said that, whenever possible, the tires will be recycled into end-use products, depending on the local market. The tire maker and Ford dealerships are working together "to synergize resources," he said, and move tires to recycling endpoints.
Part of that cooperation between the two companies involves using the same haulers and processors, Mr. Bent said. He had no data available on how many scrap tires collected by BFS company-owned stores are recycled or sent to landfills.
Ford said its dealers have been instructed to cut up the tires and dispose of them according to their local laws. The auto maker is developing a plan with BFS to recycle as many tires as possible, but wouldn't elaborate, a spokeswoman said.
The U.S. generates approximately 270 million scrap tires per year, according to STMC estimates. Nearly 177.5 million scrap tires are recycled into fuel and other products. Approximately 35 million are properly disposed of in landfills and monofills, Mr. Serumgard said.