RMA Celebrates 20 Years of Scrap Tire Leadership, Success

Industry Has Helped Reduce Stockpiles, Spur Markets, Improve Environment

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.September 30, 2010 - Twenty years ago, the U.S. was littered with more than one billion stockpiled scrap tires and only 11 percent of the annually generated scrap tires were sent to an end use market. The tire manufacturing industry was contending with a nascent scrap tire industry and a Congress that wanted results.

Rather than going from bad to worse, scrap tire management underwent a radical turnaround. Today, only 100 million stockpiled scrap tires remain and the number continues to shrink. While only one viable market for scrap tires existed in 1990, today several markets exist that consume nearly 85 percent of annually generated scrap tires. These markets have made scrap tires into a valuable commodity and have improved the environment.

A significant factor in this transformation from environmental problem to environmental success story was a tire manufacturer-led initiative. In 1990, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) created the Scrap Tire Management Council (STMC), an organization focused on developing end use markets for scrap tires and assisting in the abatement of stockpiled tires. Although the functions of the STMC were later absorbed by RMA, the mission, commitment and effort did not change.

“RMA and its tire manufacturer members recognized a serious environmental issue and invested significant resources, time and effort to make positive changes,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “At a time when many things could have gone terribly wrong for the industry, tire manufacturers stepped up and did the right thing at the right time. Having achieved major success over the past two decades, RMA and our members have not relented and continue to work with a broad spectrum of scrap tire industry stakeholders and regulators to ensure that these successes are not reversed,” Cannon added.

Since 1990, RMA’s scrap tire efforts have been spearheaded by Michael Blumenthal, who began as the Scrap Tire Management Council’s executive director and is now a vice president at RMA.

Blumenthal identified a key shortcoming of the scrap tire industry: a lack of information. “One of the first efforts we undertook was to collect, develop and distribute timely and pertinent information to the scrap tire industry,” Blumenthal said. “Between 1990 and 1996 reports and documents on virtually every facet of the industry were published. Information collection and distribution remains a critical practice to this day.”

Another challenge was market development. In 1990, only one viable market for scrap tires existed – tire-derived fuel (TDF). The scrap tire industry was trying to develop other markets, but the technology and market opportunities did not materialize until 1994. In the early 1990’s Congress was actively considering scrap tire legislation, and enacted a mandate to use ground rubber in federally-funded asphalt pavement projects. The result of that mandate was a disaster and taught a powerful lesson to the emerging scrap tire industry.

“The scrap tire industry was under pressure to develop non-TDF markets at a time when the industry was not prepared for such an effort,” Blumenthal said. “One of the very expensive lessons that had to be learned by government agencies was that the scrap tire industry has always been a demand-pull industry. Subsidizing the supply of processed scrap tires when the demand for it doesn’t exist causes over-supply, falling prices and failing businesses. The Congressional mandate for road construction caused more problems than it solved,” Blumenthal noted.

“Today the scrap tire industry new challenges from a wide array of sources. As scrap tire-derived products move into new markets, new questions and issues have arisen,” Blumenthal said. “The recession has hit states hard financially and many have been diverting scrap tire funds to finance other state programs. We continue to fight these diversions so that progress to date is not reversed. Additionally, we are currently fighting a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulation that would effectively ruin the tire derived fuel market, which still accounts for 50 percent of the market for scrap tires. This could lead to more stockpiles and greater risk of environmentally dangerous tire pile fires.”

Blumenthal added, “Our determination and resolve remain steadfast, as does our commitment to the industry and the environment. As the quote goes, it ain’t over till its over. I believe that’s a very good way to describe our approach to scrap tires management.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

NHTSA Finalizes New Tire Registration Regulation

Measure Provides Added Flexibility for Dealers, Codifies Electronic Registration

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.December 3, 2008 - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued final rules this week to improve tire registration.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire Industry Association both support the new regulation, which will provide dealers with flexibility and allow greater use of electronic tire registration. The regulation is designed to boost the number of new tire registrations. Tire registration is a critical component in notifying consumers in the event of a tire recall.

“NHTSA’s action offers a path forward to improving tire registration rates,” said Tracey Norberg, RMA senior vice president. “This should enhance the ability of tire manufacturers and NHTSA to notify consumers in the event of a tire recall.”

When first implemented nearly three decades ago, tire registration procedures were strictly required to be done by standardized paper form. Under the current system, RMA members have estimated that only 10 percent of tires purchased each year are registered.

In 2003, RMA urged NHTSA to allow for some electronic tire registration to help increase the number of registrations. NHTSA agreed with RMA and issued a letter of interpretation. Last year, the White House Office of Management and Budget asked NHTSA to consider broadening electronic tire registrations further under federal rules that encourage reducing paperwork burdens. In January of this year, NHTSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the tire registration rules.

The new rules will continue to permit paper registration forms but will now permit tire dealers to voluntarily submit electronic tire registrations for consumers. If a paper form is provided to consumers, the form may now also include information on how a consumer can register tires electronically.

“Choice and flexibility in filing tire registrations should be very helpful,” Norberg added.

Additionally, RMA and TIA had urged NHTSA to avoid imposing additional burdens on the tire industry. The final rule does not impose new obligations but instead accommodates and facilitates internet and other electronic tire registration.

The new rule takes effect on January 27, 2009. Optional immediate compliance is permitted as of November 28, 2008.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include 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 Announces Seventh Annual National Tire Safety Week

Tire Industry Bolsters Efforts towards Consumer Education

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 7, 2007 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association today announced the Seventh Annual National Tire Safety Week will be held April 20-26, 2008.

The annual event is an initiative of the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program, a year-round effort designed to help drivers learn the simple steps they can take to ensure that their tires are in good working condition. RMA is the national trade association for tire manufacturers.

Tire manufacturers and retailers nationwide will work to educate motorists about proper tire care and maintenance. RMA provides tire retailers, auto dealers and automotive repair shops with free “Be Tire Smart” brochures and other materials. Many participating retail outlets use the opportunity to promote tire care through advertising, promotions, free tire pressure checks and conducting media outreach.

“Each year, more and more of our partners are taking initiative and investing resources and time to promoting National Tire Safety Week,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA vice president, public affairs.

Responses to partner surveys conducted by RMA after National Tire Safety Week show that that more than half of the retailers that advertised reported a positive effect on customer and community relations. Twenty-five percent of those returning survey information said participation in National Tire Safety Week helped increase sales and attract new customers.

National Tire Safety Week participation grew from 15,000 retail outlets in 2006 to 18,500 in 2007.

“We are grateful that we are able to take advantage of the expertise, experience and enthusiasm of so many people who are knowledgeable about tire care and dedicated to consumer education,” said Zielinski.

Partners in the Be Tire Smart program include tire retailers, auto dealers, safety advocates and state government agencies. Among the list of Be Tire Smart partners are: AAA, American Car Care Centers (ACCC), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), Big 10 Tires, Belle Tire, Big O Tires, Costco, Discount Tire Co., Expert Tire, Firestone Complete Auto Care, GCR Tire Centers, Goodyear Auto Centers, Just Tires, Kaufman Tire, Les Schwab, Merchant’s Tire, National Tire and Battery (NTB), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Northwest Tire, Peerless Tires, Pep Boys, Sears Automotive Centers, STS Tire and Auto Centers, Sullivan Tire and Auto Service, Tire Factory, Tire Industry Association (TIA), Tire Kingdom, Tire One, Tires Plus, Tire Warehouse, Town Fair Tires, VIP Parts, Tires and Service, Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express and many others.

Tire and auto retailers who are interested in obtaining free RMA materials for National Tire Safety Week can order them online at www.betiresmart.org. Those who have participated in the event before can expect to receive materials again this year.

The Be Tire Smart program is funded by RMA’s tire manufacturer members: Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., Continental Tire North America, Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Michelin North America, Pirelli North America, Inc., Toyo Tire North America, and Yokohama Tire Corporation.

For more information on the Be Tire Smart Program and National Tire Safety Week visit www.betiresmart.org.

Jim MacMaster Elected New RMA Chairman of the Board

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.September 25, 2007 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association has elected Jim MacMaster as chairman of the board of directors. MacMaster is Executive Vice President, Business Division for Yokohama Tire Corporation.

MacMaster succeeds Mark A. Emkes, Chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. and Chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC.

MacMaster has worked in the tire industry for more than 30 years. He joined Yokohama Tire Corporation in 1981 as Territory Manager of a 14-state sales region. Since then, he has held various positions, including division manager, director of sales, director of marketing and vice president of the company’s Commercial Division. Prior to Yokohama, he served with Dunlop Tire and United Tire in sales management positions.

“Mark Emkes provided crucial leadership to the tire industry in his two years as chairman and we are deeply appreciative of his commitment, Donald B. Shea, RMA president and CEO.

In the past two years, RMA faced a number of critical public policy issues including state and federal attempts to impose tire rolling resistance performance standards.

“RMA continues to require strong leadership from its members to help guide the industry on vital public policy issues,” Shea said. “We know that Jim MacMaster’s broad experience in the tire industry will continue this industry’s ability to meet challenges.”

“A strong trade association is crucial to the tire industry’s ability to foster a cooperative, consensus approach to public policy challenges,” MacMaster said. “I am both humbled and excited by this opportunity to help lead RMA during the next two years and look forward to working with my industry colleagues on the issues we face.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include 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.

U.S.-Mexico Border Workshops Promote Scrap Tire Markets

Market-Based Solutions Sought for Waste Tire Management

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 14, 2007 - A joint effort by government and the tire industry to find market-based solutions to deal with scrap tires along the U.S.-Mexico border was highlighted in two recent scrap tire infrastructure-building workshops.

The workshops, April 24, in Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico and in El Paso, Texas on April 25 were under the auspices of an U.S. Environmental Protection Administration program with the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

The U.S.-Mexico Border Scrap Tire Management Initiative is part of the Border 2012 Hazardous and Solid Waste Policy Forum. The U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program is carrying out the 1983 Agreement on Cooperation for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area (La Paz Agreement), the ten-year bi-national Border 2012 Program aims to improve the environment and reduce the highest public health risks along the U.S-Mexico border.
Under the Border 2012 Program, the U.S. and Mexico are working jointly to reduce land contamination along their shared borders. One aspect of this program is addressing scrap tires.

The overall long-term goals for scrap tires on both sides of the border are to reduce and eliminate scrap tire piles, and to ensure that newly generated scrap tires are managed in an environmentally sound manner. More specifically one of the goals of this initiative is to identify needs and develop an action plan to improve institutional and infrastructure capacity for waste management and pollution prevention as they pertain to solid waste along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Palomas workshop was hosted by the Border 2012 New Mexico-Chihuahua Rural Task Force and the New Mexico Department of Environmental Quality. The focus of the educational event was infrastructure and market development in the rural sector. The El Paso workshop was hosted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and focused on infrastructure and market development in urban settings.

“The border region is an important component of the overall management of scrap tires and RMA will continue to be engaged in these types of programs,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA senior technical director. “We provide technical expertise in addition to RMA’s nearly two decades of successful experience promoting effective scrap tire management. We look forward to working with both the U.S. and Mexico governments to schedule more of these workshops in the near future.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include 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 Testifies Against Maryland “Tire Efficiency” Measure

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 7, 2007 - Maryland legislators should forgo consideration of state “tire efficiency” standards on tire makers and support a national consumer education program on tire rolling resistance, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association in testimony today before a House committee.

“The tire industry is committed to working with policymakers to provide information and education about tire manufacturing processes, tire performance characteristics, scrap tire market development and tire maintenance,” said Tracey Norberg, RMA vice president and deputy general counsel. “RMA appreciates the opportunity to discuss HB 608 and to inform the committee about policy developments in the area of tire energy efficiency over the past four years.”

The proposed legislation would create a consumer information program and rating system for tire rolling resistance and it would require minimum efficiency standards for all tires.

Norberg explained that attempts to emphasize tire fuel efficiency over other tire performance traits would have tradeoffs. She noted the relationship among tire rolling resistance, traction and tread wear and said that tire manufacturers would not compromise on safety.

Norberg also indicated that mandates for low rolling resistance tires would exacerbate scrap tire management issues. A 2006 RMA Scrap Tire Market Report illustrated the vast improvement in scrap tire management since 1990 that has reduced scrap tire stockpiles from 1 billion to fewer than 200 million tires and has helped markets for scrap tires soar from an 11 percent recovery rate to nearly 87 percent.

While California enacted tire efficiency legislation in 2003, Norberg said that the state has yet to promulgate regulations for either consumer information or performance standards. Also, tire testing by California regulators is not yet complete. RMA was able to secure some safeguards to the California legislation to forbid state performance standards if tire safety, tire longevity or the state’s scrap tire situation would be negatively affected.

RMA told Maryland lawmakers that an April 2006 National Academy of Sciences report recommended consumer information on tire rolling resistance in addition to improved consumer tire maintenance to help motorists optimize their fuel economy without limiting tire choices.

“A national program would obviate the need for states to develop their own consumer education programs and facilitate nationwide distribution of tire efficiency consumer information,” Norberg said. “A single, nationwide program would allow citizens in all states to make more informed tire purchasing decisions and avoid duplicative and potentially conflicting state requirements that would confuse consumers.”

Norberg concluded, “RMA recommends that Maryland forgo HB 608 in favor of a national program to address this issue. I am happy to keep this Committee and any appropriate regulatory agencies up to date on relevant developments on this issue.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include 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.