Tire Industry Report Rankes States on Scrap Tire Progress

More Tires Put to New Uses; Stockpiled Scrap Tires Down 80% Since 1990

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.December 5, 2006 - State cleanup laws and growing markets are helping to alleviate a serious environmental issue – scrap tires. According to a report by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, nearly 87 percent of disposed tires each year are put to a new use. In 1990, only 11 percent of scrap tires was consumed by a market.

Additionally, the number of tires sitting in stockpiles shrunk to 188 million from 275 million in 2003. More than 1 billion scrap tires were stockpiled in 1990.

RMA, which represents tire manufacturers, ranked states by their overall performance in dealing with scrap tire issues and how states improved since the previous scrap tire report in 2003.

South Carolina, North Carolina and Maine lead the nation in a performance ranking of dealing with scrap tires. Rankings are based on percent of tires going to end use markets, number of stockpiled tires, stockpiled tires per capita, number of tires land-disposed and the percent of the number of tires/per capita land-disposed in 2005.

Texas, Alabama, Michigan and Ohio were tops in improving the scrap tire situation in 2005 as compared to 2003.

“Tire manufacturers have been working hard for 16 years to promote environmentally and economically sound solutions to reduce scrap tire waste,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA senior technical director. “Additionally, states’ scrap tire cleanup laws and regulations and market development efforts have substantially reduced the nation’s scrap tire piles.”

RMA’s report, based upon a comprehensive survey of state scrap tire and solid waste officials and industry participants, says that 259 million of 299 million scrap tires generated in 2005 went to an end use market.

The largest markets for scrap tires include:

  • Ground rubber – One of the largest markets for scrap tires is ground rubber, which consumed more than 30 million tires in 2005. Ground rubber is used in athletic and recreational surfaces, rubber-modified asphalt, carpet underlay, flooring material, dock bumpers and railroad crossing blocks.
  • Civil engineering – Projects such as road and landfill construction, septic tank leach fields and other construction applications consumed nearly 50 million tires. Tires add positive properties in these applications such as vibration and sound control, lightweight alternatives to prevent erosion and landslides and drainage in leachate systems.
  • Tire-derived fuel (TDF) – TDF is the leading use of scrap tires, especially as a supplemental fuel for cement kilns, electric utilities and pulp and paper mills. TDF use has increased almost 20 percent to 155 million scrap tires since 2003.

Since 1990, the number of scrap tires in stockpiles has been reduced by 81 percent. Of the remaining stockpiles, 85 percent are concentrated in 7 states: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Alabama and New York have recently begun efforts to cleanup existing stockpiles.

In previous scrap tire market reports, RMA listed information only in millions of tires. This year, RMA added a weight category. Many other industries use weight when calculating reuse or recycling of waste materials. Under this measurement, 82 percent of scrap tires were used in a market application. The slightly smaller percentage is due to the varying sizes of tires which range from typical passenger-size tires weighing about 22.5 pounds to large commercial truck tires that can weigh more than 100 pounds.

The 2005 U.S. Scrap Tire Markets report is the eighth biennial report researched and published by RMA. The report shows the status, progress and challenges of the U.S. scrap tire industry.

# # # #

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 100 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

RMA to Coordinate and Participate in Industrial Byproducts Workshop

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.October 10, 2006 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), as part of the Industrial Resources Council, is coordinating a one day workshop on the use of industrial byproducts in highway construction in Little Rock, Arkansas on February 1, 2007.

“RMA has always sought to work with other stakeholders in an effort to provide the most timely information that will allow us to expand markets for scrap tires,” stated RMA’s Senior Technical Director Michael Blumenthal. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to return to Arkansas and provide a venue where new market opportunities can be explored.”

The workshop is being co-sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and EPA Regions 4 & 6 Office of Solid Waste & Recycling, as well as the Industrial Resource Council (IRC). The IRC is comprised of organizations representing industrial byproducts. Currently the members of the IRC are: American Coal Ash Association; Construction Materials Recycling Association; Foundry Industry Recycling Starts Today (FIRST); National Council for Air & Stream Improvement (NCASI); National Slag Association (NSA) and Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

The workshop will be held at the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department, 10324 Interstate 30, in Little Rock, Arkansas from 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM on Thursday, February 1, 2007. There is no cost to attend the workshop, but attendees must register with RMA to attend.

Increasing the use of industrial byproducts is a priority goal of the EPA’s solid waste and recycling program. The EPA Resource Conservation Challenge has identified industrial byproducts as an underutilized resource and is seeking ways to get industry and government working together to take advantage of this resource. The Arkansas workshop is the first effort by the IRC to engage state and local officials in this process.

“The workshop offers a one-stop learning experience to educate the highway community, state and county officials on the benefits of using industrial byproducts in highway construction,” Blumenthal said.

# # # #

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 100 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales. All RMA press releases are available at www.rma.org.

Tire Industry Study: Chronological Age Alone Does Not Determine When Tires Are Removed From Service

May 9, 2006 Presentation to SAE

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 23, 2006 - A comprehensive study of more than 14,000 scrap tires shows that chronological age alone cannot determine when a tire is removed from service.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association inspected tires at seven large scrap tire processors in seven states and recorded the tires’ date code and tread depth as well as whether the tires had been repaired or had any visible damage. The study data has been shared with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

RMA initiated the study late last year. In June 2005, RMA wrote to NHTSA urging the agency to examine whether a relationship existed between a tire’s safety performance and its chronological age. In the letter, RMA also agreed to work with the agency to provide information about chronological tire age.

“We believe that a good starting point for a discussion about chronological age and tires was to examine tires that had been removed from service,” said Laurie Baulig, RMA general counsel.

RMA’s scrap tire survey examined more than14,000 tires that had been removed from service. The date codes on the tires showed that the survey sample contained tires from one to sixteen years old. If chronological age was a determining factor in tire performance, the data would have shown a spike of tires removed from service after a particular time.

“If age was a sole factor in determining tire service life, our data would have shown a significant number of tires being removed from service at a particular point,” Baulig said. “Our data showed no magic date when tires are removed from service.”

Other study observations included:

  • 42 percent of tires in the study were removed due to wear-out (had tread at or below tread wear indicators). After the first year of service, 59 percent of tires in the study were removed due to wear-out.
  • 25 percent of the tires had road hazard damage.
  • 17 percent of the tires had been repaired.
  • Alarmingly, 87.5 percent of the observed tire repairs were improper – not performed with a plug and internal patch as specified by RMA tire repair guidelines.

The RMA scrap tire study encompassed 14,271 randomly selected tires observed at seven scrap processing facilities in five geographic regions of the country. The seven sites were located in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Trained tire technicians from RMA member companies painstakingly observed approximately 2,000 tires at each site and recorded manufacture date code, tire wear and any visual damage or tire repair.

# # # #

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 100 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.