RMA reports scrap tire piles have declined by 93 percent

© Wayne Mckown | Dreamstime.com

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), Washington, reports that scrap tire piles in the U.S. have declined by more than 93 percent in the past two decades.

In addition, RMA says nearly 9 out of 10 scrap tires today are consumed in several end markets annually.

The national trade association for tire manufacturers says of the more than 1 billion stockpiled scrap tires that existed in 1990, about 70 million tires remain to be cleaned up. Approximately 70 percent of the remaining tires are stockpiled in just two states, Colorado (31 million) and Texas (17 million). Seven other states—Arkansas, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington—account for almost 12 million additional stockpiled tires combined.

RMA says cleaning up piles has taken on a new urgency with the threat of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Abandoned tires can serve as mosquito breeding grounds because of their ability to collect water, retain heat and offer protection from predators.

“Effective state scrap tire management laws and programs advocated by RMA have produced a remarkable environmental success story,” says RMA President and CEO Anne Forristall Luke. “Equally impressive is that nearly 90 percent of annually generated scrap tires are consumed in an end use market.”

The top end use markets for tires include tire-derived fuel, or TDF, at 48 percent, ground rubber at 26 percent and civil engineering uses at 7 percent.

Forristall Luke says an ongoing challenge is to maintain the achievements in stockpile reduction and market development as states reassess priorities and budgets. States that become complacent after many years of successful scrap tire management and shift funds raised from state tire fees can risk an increase in illegal tire piles and reduced funding for cleanup of abandoned piles.

“States that have passed laws with dedicated funding need to remain vigilant and protect programs to prevent a resurgence of scrap tire problems,” Forristall Luke says.