The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association released its first U.S. industry sustainability report presenting its members’ collective progress and shared vision for a sustainable U.S. tire manufacturing industry.
“Sustainability drives our members’ business practices and operating principles,” said Anne Forristall Luke, president and CEO of USTMA. “From engineering innovations that maximize tire longevity and performance, to ensuring driver and employee safety, to preserving the environment throughout the life cycle of a tire, our members are continually looking for ways to improve the societal contributions of their products and operations.”
Tires are an indispensable part of our mobile society and an essential driver of our nation’s commerce. USTMA’s 12 member companies operate 56 tire-related manufacturing facilities in 17 states and generate over $27 billion in annual sales and $11.3 billion in annual federal tax revenue. Tire manufacturing contributes to the lives of real American workers by directly supporting more than a quarter million U.S. jobs totaling almost $20 billion in wages.
“As global companies with manufacturing operations in the U.S., many of our members’ individual sustainability initiatives are cutting edge and extend well beyond what is included in this report,” said Luke. “By uniting around a forward-looking vision on sustainability, we have the potential to make an even bigger impact in the areas of safety, performance and environmental stewardship.”
The report highlights industry accomplishments, including:
- 81% of scrap tires went to beneficial end uses in 2017;
- Member facilities have made an almost 10% reduction in CO2 emissions since 2010;
- Nearly 90% of U.S. member facilities are certified under ISO 14001, the internationally recognized system for managing a facility’s environmental footprint;
- 50% reduction in injury and illness rates at member facilities since 2005;
- 100% of USTMA member companies support philanthropic activities.
The report also notes areas in which the industry is working to drive progress, which include:
- Advancing safety through innovation in the development of tire technologies such as run-flat, self-sealing, airless and self-inflating tires.
- The development of sensors, chips and tags that can be embedded in a tire’s tread groove, enabling access to real-time information on tire temperature, pressure and tread wear.
- Ongoing research and development to expand the use of sustainable materials in tires, enhancing biodiversity and reducing dependence on non-renewable feedstocks. Several USTMA members are engaged in research on the commercial potential of guayule, a shrub that contains natural rubber, investigating alternative sources of domestic natural rubber from a type of Russian dandelion and working to produce, test and develop tires with tread made from 100% dandelion-derived rubber. Soybean oil, rice husks and orange peels are also being used or tested.
- The implementation of technologies and practices that reduce manufacturing-related emissions, improve energy efficiency, minimize water use and reduce solid waste.