WASHINGTON (July 23, 2004) — Four out of every five scrap tires are consumed by an end-use market, according to a recently released report by the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
The U.S. Scrap Tire Markets report shows that 80 percent or about 233 million of the 290 million scrap tires generated in 2003 went to an end-use market, compared with 11 percent in 1990. Civil engineering, ground rubber products and tire-derived fuel (TDF) are all end uses for scrap tires, with ground rubber reuse consuming more than 28 million tires in 2003.
TDF is the leading use of scrap tires, especially as a supplemental fuel for electricity and pulp and paper mills. TDF use has risen almost 12 percent to nearly 130 million scrap tires since 2001, the report stated.
One of the fastest growing markets for ground rubber is its application in athletic and recreational surfaces. Rubber-modified asphalt is another market that uses ground rubber to produce durable roads. Carpet underlay, flooring material, dock bumpers and railroad-crossing blocks are other applications for ground rubber.
“Tire manufacturers have taken the initiative to promote environmentally and economically sound solutions to reduce scrap tire waste,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA senior technical director. “RMA has worked to enact state scrap tire cleanup laws and regulations and to help develop markets that create new uses for scrap tires.”
According to the report, tire shred use in civil engineering applications has grown 41 percent since 2001. Civil engineering projects include road and landfill construction, septic tank leach fields and other construction applications. Tires add positive properties in these applications, the RMA said, such as vibration and sound control, lightweight alternatives to prevent erosion and landslides and drainage in leachate systems.
Cleanup efforts have reduced stockpiled tires 73 percent since 1990. Of the remaining stockpiles, 91 percent are concentrated in 11 states: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
Information for the RMA's seventh biennial report was obtained through a questionnaire sent to all state scrap tire regulators as well as through extensive phone surveys.