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RMA's Blumenthal gives overview of scrap tire programs at Clemson conference

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Market development is the key to successfully managing scrap tire problems, according to Michael Blumenthal, senior technical director for the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

In his presentation to Clemson Tire Industry Conference attendees in Hilton Head, S.C., Blumenthal said no single scrap tire program fits all situations. The programs vary greatly in different parts of the world, from shared responsibility for scrap tires in the United States and Canada to manufacturer responsibility in Europe and Brazil.

"Better results occur when there is a comprehensive scrap tire program that includes all involved industries," said Blumenthal.

In his speech, Blumenthal talked about scrap tire programs from around the world.

* The European Union (EU) created several directives that focus on reducing landfills, recycling waste and standardizing the transport of scrap tire waste.

* Brazil enacted legislation in 2000 that requires tire manufacturers to create markets for scrap tires. Most of its scrap tires are sent to cement kilns. "Since this is a relatively new initiative, it is still unknown if this country's goals can be achieved."

* Japan has a long-existing cooperative program that includes tire manufacturers, government bodies and other related industries, said Blumenthal. Since land is limited in Japan, the country has no ability to landfill scrap tires.

But Japan has had a high rate of success: 89% of its scrap tires are either turned into tire-derived fuel and ground rubber or exported. Blumenthal anticipates Japan eventually will reach 100% capture of the scrap tire market.

* Eighty percent of Canada's provinces have scrap tire programs. The active provinces operate under a general approach of a cooperative effort between government, tire manufacturers and processors, he said.

Several provinces have created stewardship boards to oversee the scrap tire activities. This has proven to be a successful approach.

"Canada's continued success is a direct result of their fees and payments structure," said Blumenthal.

* The United States has no federal program for scrap tires. States differ widely on their tire regulations, and the manufacturer, retailer, owner and collector share the responsibility.

Since a federal scrap tire program is highly unlikely in the U.S., tire manufacturers must continue to be a strong force in the marketplace and legislative process, he said.

"Markets must be continually expanded and protected for the scrap tire issue to be resolved."

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