RMA: Tire recycling has come a long way
WASHINGTON (Nov.10, 2014) — In recognition of National Recycling Week, Nov. 10-16, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has issued a report showing that more than 90 percent of scrap tire piles in the U.S. have been cleaned up while 96 percent of the more than 230 million tires discarded in 2013 were reused in several markets.
Other data from the report include:
- The number of stockpiled tires has dropped to 75 million in 2013 from 1 billion in 1990;
- Colorado and Texas have the most stockpiled scrap tires, 31 million and 15 million respectively. Colorado passed a law in 2013 to clean up its mammoth piles. Texas does not have a state scrap tire management program. Other states with measurable tire stockpiles include: Arkansas, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington;
- In 1990 only 10 percent of scrap tires generated were diverted from the landfill; by 2013 about 95 percent of scrap tires were consumed by other markets; and
- Three scrap tire markets consumed 86 percent of annually generated tires in 2013 — tire-derived fuel (TDF) used 56 percent, ground rubber 25 percent, and civil engineering 5 percent.
TDF is used by the pulp and paper industry and the cement industry as a supplemental fuel due to the high BTU content, the RMA said. Ground rubber is used to create a variety of products including athletic fields, playground cover and binding agents used to create asphalt road surface. Finely-ground scrap tire rubber also is used by some manufacturers in new tire construction.
Civil engineering applications use shredded tires as a substitute for other “fill” materials such as sand or gravel. Common uses include road and landfill construction and septic tank leachate fields.
“Ongoing scrap tire management efforts in the U.S. have been tremendously successful,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs.
“Tire manufacturers have worked across the nation to help establish effective state scrap tire management programs, often funded by user fees on tire sales, to enforce regulations, clean up tire piles and promote environmentally sound, cost-effective markets for scrap tires. The numbers tell the story: the effort is paying off in a cleaner environment.”
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