WASHINGTON ( Nov. 7, 2001)– The Rubber Manufacturers Association is encouraging the state of New York to develop a viable market for scrap tires.
The association said New York is among the top three states in terms of stockpiled scrap tires, with an estimated 50 million awaiting proper disposal and 18-20 million additional scrap tires being generated each year. Making matters worse, the RMA said, only a small percentage of New York-generated scrap tires have a market.
The association's recommendation was made to the Empire Energy & Environmental Exposition in Albany, N.Y., Nov. 6-7. The RMA was one of the organizers of the state's Consensus Roundtable for Scrap Tires, an effort to create a comprehensive scrap tire management program.
The findings and conclusions of the Consensus Roundtable, made public in 2000, were instrumental in the state's creation and enactment of scrap tire legislation this year.
RMA senior technical director Michael Blumenthal said the situation in New York has reached a critical point. “There is an opportunity to create a comprehensive scrap tire program that will be able to address the issues of annual generation and stockpiles,” he said. “If this opportunity is lost, it may be difficult to generate sufficient interests in this important matter anytime soon. We are concerned that interest in this topic may only occur after an unfortunate event with scrap tires takes place.”
Mr. Blumenthal said the development of markets for scrap tires continues to be a significant environmental and business success story across the nation. In 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that some 3 billion scrap tires existed in stockpiles. Today, that figure is approximately 300 million, he said.
About 270 million scrap tires are generated nationally each year, with over 70 percent returned to market, he said. "Development of private markets for scrap tires, coupled with sensible state legislation has helped to significantly reduce scrap tire stockpiles nationwide. But we still have plenty to do," Mr. Blumenthal said.