In 1990, there were close to 1 billion scrap tires stockpiled in the U.S. That total is down 94%, to 60 million, according the 2017 U.S. Scrap Tire Management Summary.
Produced by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), the scrap tire summary began tracking tires culled from scrap tire collection entering domestic passenger and light truck used tire markets in 2009 by including used tires as a market for scrap tires.
But each year’s findings are more of a “snapshot in time” than point of comparison, said John Sheerin, director of end of life tires at USTMA and the primary author of the report. For example, more than 81% of the nearly 250 million scrap tires produced in 2017 were re-used in products such as tire-derived fuel, rubber modified asphalt and other products.
However, if the tires baled or disposed of in landfills are taken into account – referred to as “managed” – then the percentage is close to 100% every year. (Some of the unaccounted for tires are either utilized or managed in the future.)
"Scrap tire management in the U.S. demonstrates an environmental success story -- one that not enough people know about," says Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA CEO and president. "Over the past 30 years, USTMA has worked with state partners to find uses for scrap tires. This success is reflective of the commitment to environmental responsibility from our industry, and we look forward to building on these successes as we work towards our goal of 100% of scrap tires reused."
USTMA’s Scrap Tire Program will be focusing on two key areas of growth in the future: tire-derived fuel and rubber modified asphalt.
Tire-derived fuel, which is used for industrial purposes, consumed more than 1.7 million tons of scrap tires in 2017, or 106 million tires. That represents 43% of the net scrap tire total produced.
Tire-derived fuel usage
|Cement kilns||+7.0% (strong performance of the construction industry)|
|Pulp and paper||-18.4% (industry consolidation plus less usage)|
|Industrial boilers||-22.7% (not price competitive versus natural gas)|
Rubber modified asphalt, the environmentally friendly alternative to traditional road paving materials, is another key growth area, represented more than 7 million scrap tires in 2017. It can be used to comparatively build safer and more durable roads.
USTMA is working with stakeholders in states to increase awareness for the benefits of both tire-derived fuel and rubberized asphalt.
To download the entire report, visit www.ustires.org.