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VOICE YOUR OPINION

February 2004

Clarification of Scrap Tire Statements

by Michael Blumenthal, Rubber Manufacturers Association

I am writing to respond to a November "Voice Your Opinion" article, "Stockpiled Scrap Tires" by Stanley T. Williams. The piece contains a number of inaccuracies about the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the scrap tire industry.

RMA created the Scrap Tire Management Council (STMC) in the early 1990s. Two and one-half years ago, STMC activities were merged into RMA to streamline the tire manufacturing industry's scrap tire initiatives. RMA's scrap tire activities continue to focus on four principle goals:

1) The development, expansion and protection of the viable markets for scrap tires;
2) The abatement of stockpiled scrap tires;
3) The development of effective legislation and regulations that will enhance markets and hasten stockpile abatement and;
4) The communication of the efforts, concerns and needs of the scrap tire industry.

Over the past 13 years, tire manufacturers can claim success in increasing the amount of annually-generated scrap tires entering end-use market from 11 percent to an impressive 77 percent. Throughout this period, tire makers have worked with state and Federal agencies, potential and actual end users of scrap tire products and developed and sponsored educational seminars for the scrap tire industry.

Mr. Williams raises questions about the role of unlicensed scrap tire haulers in the creation of illegal dumps and scrap tire stockpiles. Unlicensed tire haulers do, in fact, play a role in illegal dumping and the creation of tire stockpiles. Undercharging for an important service adversely impacts the cash flow from legitimate tire collectors/processors and denies the processors an adequate supply of scrap tires. Additionally, the company or individual who undercharges is more likely to dump the tires or, if they do bring them to a collection site, probably do not have the financial resources needed to properly process those tires.

Today's scrap tire industry has evolved from a large number of relatively small operations into one that has a series of larger, regional companies. This evolution has given the market infrastructure more stability and offers greater economy-of-scale, which in turn has been a key reason for the dramatic decline in tire dumping, although the problem is not completely eradicated.

While tremendous progress has been made within the scrap tire industry, we continue to battle old myths, misperceptions, misinformation, half-truths and vested interests masquerading as moral causes. Despite these hurdles, RMA and the tire manufacturing industry will continue to focus on true solutions to address the nation's scrap tire issues.

Reference to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring or disfavoring by AR Publishing Co. The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of AR Publishing Co.

To comment or to open a new topic, please send mail to “Voice Your Opinion” P.O. Box 351748, Toledo, OH 43635-1748. Include your name, telephone number and city. E-mail may be submitted to mary@americanrecycler.com.

 


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