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RMA: 'More scrap tires are being put to new use'

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Nearly 87% of disposed tires are put to new use each year versus 11% some 16 years ago, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

The number of used tires sitting in stockpiles has fallen from 275 million in 2003 to 188 million, say RMA officials. "More than 1 billion scrap tires were stockpiled in 1990."

The RMA says the states of South Carolina, North Carolina and Maine led the country 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 and compared to 2003."

The RMA bases its figures on "a comprehensive study of state scrap tire and solid waste officials and industry participants."

According to the association, the largest markets for scrap tires include:

* 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 applications consumed nearly 50 million tires;

* Tire-derived fuel, which is the leading use of scrap tires, especially as a supplemental fuel for cement kilns, electric utilities and pulp and paper mills. "Tire-derived fuel use has increased almost 20% to 155 million scrap tires since 2003."

Since 1990, the number of scrap tires in stockpiles has been reduced by 81%, say RMA officials.

"Of the remaining stockpiles, 85% are concentrated in seven states: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Alabama and New York have recently begun efforts to cleanup existing stockpiles."

The RMA's 2005 U.S. Scrap Tire Markets report is the eighth biennial report researched and published by RMA. It will officially be released on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

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