According to a recent report for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, scrap tire piles have declined by more than 93% in the past two decades.
Of the more than 1 billion stockpiled scrap tires that existed in 1990, only about 70 million remain to be cleaned up, the RMA said.
“Effective state scrap tire management laws and programs advocated by RMA have produced a remarkable environmental success story,” said Anne Forristall Luke, RMA president and CEO. “Piles have been reduced from more than 1 billion tires in 1990 to fewer than 70 million today. Equally impressive is that nearly 90% of annually generated scrap tires are consumed in an end use market.”
The top use for scrap tires include tire-derived fuel (48%), ground rubber (26%) and civil engineering uses (7%). Tire-derived fuel or TDF is used primarily by the cement industry and pulp and paper makers. Ground rubber markets include mulch, rubber modified asphalt, sport surfaces such as athletic tracks and some limited use in new tire manufacturing, RMA said. Civil engineering uses include tire aggregate as a replacement fill material for light rail vibration dampening, road embankments and other uses.
Luke says that an ongoing challenge is to maintain the achievements in stockpile reduction and market development as states reassess priorities and budgets.