EPA Decision Preservers Scrap Tire Markets

Rulemaking Safeguards 20 Years of RMA Advocacy and Environmental Success

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846

WASHINGTON, D.C.February 23, 2011 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a rulemaking that will preserve scrap tire markets and ensure the continued success of scrap tire management advocacy by the Rubber Manufacturers Association over the past 20 years.

The rule allows annually generated scrap tires that are removed from vehicles to be used as fuel by an industrial facility. Cement kilns, pulp and paper mills and electric utilities are the major users of tire derived fuel (TDF).

In its proposed rule, EPA recommended that annually generated tires be processed to remove the metal before being considered a fuel under the Clean Air Act. However, that provision would have merely increased the energy consumption, air emissions and costs associated with delivering tire derived fuels to industrial customers without any environmental benefit.

RMA recognizes that EPA is still requiring processing of whole tires removed from historical scrap tire stockpiles. RMA continues to encourage EPA to consider a more expansive definition of processing to allow these whole tires to be combusted as tire derived fuel. RMA continues to evaluate the final rule for additional insights and impacts on the tire industry.

“EPA clearly listened to the arguments advocated by RMA and other key stakeholders to deliver a rule that ensures continued improvement in scrap tire management efforts in the U.S.,” said Charles A. Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “While we are still analyzing several aspects of this final rule, the big picture is that this is a victory for the environment and for RMA’s scrap tire advocacy efforts.

RMA efforts were instrumental in the outcome of this EPA rulemaking. The association recognized early in this process that to protect tire derived fuel markets, a coordinated, common sense approach was necessary.

RMA spearheaded efforts to promote the use of scrap tires as tire derived fuel, stressed the importance of this key market to the health of the overall all scrap tire marketplace and highlight the dire environmental consequences should scrap tire stockpiles again be allowed to grow. RMA coordinated outreach, education and advocacy to the EPA, the Administration and the states about the critical role tire derived fuel plays in managing scrap tires, economizing fuel resources and protecting the environment.

When RMA began its scrap tire efforts in 1990, about 11 percent of scrap tires went to end use markets, and one billion scrap tires were in stockpiles across the country. Today, fewer than 100 million tires remain in stockpiles and over 80 percent of scrap tires are utilized in end use markets. Tire derived fuel markets consume just over 50 percent of the scrap tires generated annually.

“Scrap tire markets are mature and stable; scrap tires are recognized as a valuable commodity and are used in a number of applications, including tire derived fuel,” Cannon said. “RMA is extremely proud of these accomplishments, thanks to sound state regulations, sustainable, cost-effective markets and steady industry efforts.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that make tires in the U.S.