Tyre recycling rates fall in the USA according to USTMA Report
USTMA Recognises a Stall in Tyre Recycling
While tyres remain one of the most recycled products in the U.S., end-of-life markets are not keeping pace with the annual generation of scrap tyres, a new report released by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) reveals.
The 2019 Scrap Tire Management Report –USTMA’s 14th – reveals that almost 76 per cent of scrap tyres were recycled in products such as rubber modified asphalt, the manufacturing of automotive products and mulch for landscaping and other products, and tyre-derived fuel in 2019. This is down from 96 per cent in 2013 when scrap tyre recycling peaked.
“Three decades after we successfully eliminated 94 per cent of the over 1 billion scrap tyres stockpiled around the country, this report reveals that efforts to find and develop new uses for scrap tyres have stalled,” said Anne Forristall Luke, president and CEO of USTMA. “We must take immediate steps to grow new and existing markets to recycle 100 per cent of scrap tyres. This not only protects our health and the environment - it drives innovation and jobs.”
While the number of scrap tyres generated each year grew by almost 7 per cent, the total number of scrap tyres recycled or reclaimed has not significantly changed since 2017.
The report found that 56 million scrap tyres remain in stockpiles, mostly in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia and Washington; half of which–New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas and Virginia—do not have active stockpile clean-up programmes.
USTMA and its members work closely with state regulators, recyclers and other stakeholders to manage scrap tyres and develop, recycle and reuse markets.
Michelin, Bridgestone and Continental use recycled carbon black (rCB) to produce new tyres. Michelin also partnered with Scandinavian Enviro Systems to increase end-of-life tyre recycling using a pyrolysis process. Bridgestone joined with Delta-Energy Group to bring at-scale use of rCB to the tyre market, and Continental works with Pyrolyx to help tyre manufacturers scale up the production of rCB from scrap tyres for use in products ranging from mobile phones to ink pens.
USTMA urges state regulators and federal lawmakers as well as recyclers, industry and environmental groups, and academic partners to do more to advance a circular economy. Specifically:
States must resist the urge to shift scrap tyre funds away from their intended purpose: to grow scrap tyre reuse and recycle markets, clean-up piles and enforce state laws. USTMA supports reasonable fees on the sale of new tyres to manage state programs, like those collected in 35 states.
New public and private sector investments are needed to create innovation challenges, research the lifecycle impacts of scrap tyres in different end-use markets, and create a national portal for states to share data.
State and federal policies should encourage the growth of reuse and recycle markets including investments in sustainable infrastructure like rubber-modified asphalt and stormwater infiltration galleries, changes in state transportation specifications to allow the use of rubber modified asphalt, and consideration of scrap tyres in climate policies.
USTMA’s 2019 Scrap Tire Management Report can be found on USTMA’s new sustainability information hub that highlights the tyre industry’s progress and commitment to sustainability, including tyre safety and environmental stewardship and the industry’s economic impact.