Tire Makers Roll Out Good News for National Recycling Week

Scrap Tire Markets Growing; Tire Piles Shrinking

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

WASHINGTON, DC, November 7, 2014 — A tire industry organization is issuing a report showing extraordinary success at efforts to address scrap tires. The tire report rolls out for National Recycling Week, which runs November 10-16.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the US, issued a report showing that more than 90% of scrap tire piles are cleaned up while 96% of tires discarded in 2013 were reused in several markets. The U.S. generates more than 230 million scrap tires every year.

Key findings:

Dramatic reduction in scrap tire stockpiles.

  • 1990: 1 billion stockpiled tires
  • 2013: 75 million stockpiled tires

Remarkable growth in scrap tire markets.

    • 1990: 10% of scrap tires consumed by markets
    • 2013: 95% of scrap tires consumed by markets.

Top three scrap tire markets consumed 86% of annually generated tires in 2013.

    • Tire derived fuel (TDF):         56%
    • Ground rubber:                      25%
    • Civil engineering:                     5%

TDF is used by the pulp and paper industry and the cement industry as a supplemental fuel due to the high BTU content. Industries using tires as fuel conform to federal, state and local environmental laws and employ emission control devices.

Ground rubber is used to create a variety of products including athletic fields, playground cover and binding agents used to create a more durable and quieter 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. Shredded tires add beneficial properties such as noise and vibration control, erosion prevention and drainage facilitation. Common uses include road and landfill construction and septic tank leachate fields.

In 2013, 75 million tires remained in stockpiles with the majority in Colorado and Texas. Colorado passed a law in 2013 at RMA’s urging to clean up its mammoth piles. Texas does not have a state scrap tire management program.  Other states with tire stockpiles include: Arkansas, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

States with Most Stockpiled Scrap Tires:

  • Colorado         31 million
  • Texas               15 million

Commonly Discarded wastes and recycling or reuse rates

  • Lead acid batteries:              98% (U.S. EPA)
  • Tires:                                       95% (RMA)
  • Aluminum cans:                    67% (Aluminum Association)
  • Plastic bottles:                       30% (NAPCOR)
  • Paper:                                      65% (U.S. EPA)
  • Glass bottles:                         34% (Glass Packaging Institute)

“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.”


# # # #

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S.  All RMA press releases are available at www.rma.org.