WASHINGTON—Scrap tire recycling expert Michael Blumenthal, vice president of environment and resource recovery with the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), will retire effective July 11.
A 24-year veteran of the RMA, Mr. Blumenthal has long been the tire industry's most visible spokesman on the subject of scrap tires and its greatest advocate of sustainable markets for recycled tires. Mr. Blumenthal began with the Washington-based association in October 1990 as executive director of its Scrap Tire Management Council.
Later, when the council was folded into the association, Mr. Blumenthal became an RMA vice president.
When Mr. Blumenthal first came to the RMA, the scrap tire recycling rate was only 11 percent annually, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that more than 1 billion scrap tires were stockpiled around the U.S., the RMA said.
Today, some 85 percent of the scrap tires generated annually find valuable end-uses, and the number of stockpiled scrap tires is slightly more than 100 million, it said. During his tenure at the RMA, Mr. Blumenthal has coordinated nearly three dozen national and regional conferences on scrap tire management and spoken at more than 200 trade shows and conferences, according to the RMA.
Since 1995, he also has led the RMA's response to scrap tire issues along the U.S.-Mexico border, and was the signatory for the U.S. tire industry in a U.S.-Mexico accord on scrap tire abatement.
During his time at the RMA, Mr. Blumenthal oversaw the publication of numerous studies and reports on scrap tire markets, a report on tire leachate, a comprehensive report on emissions from tire-derived fuel (TDF) and a manual on the issues surrounding the startup of a tire recycling business.
Among his many accomplishments, he also:
- Helped create the first comprehensive guidelines for the prevention and fighting of scrap tire fires;
- Guidelines for the use of shredded scrap tires in civil engineering applications;
- Standards within the American Society for Testing and Materials for tires in civil engineering applications and as TDF;
- A revised national fire code for outdoor tire storage; and
- The first compendium of definitions for terms used in the scrap tire industry.
“...(W)ithout a doubt, Michael's dedication, commitment and hard work have been the epicenter of RMA's contribution and enormous success,” said RMA President and CEO Charles Cannon, regarding Mr. Blumenthal's pending retirement.