AUGUST 2009

More old tires put to new uses – piles recede

Nearly 90 percent of tires that are replaced and thrown away every year are put to a new productive use. The reuse rate of scrap tires tops most recovered waste materials including glass bottles, paper and aluminum cans.

The ninth report on scrap tire markets issued by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) since 1994 shows continued progress in scrap tire management practices across the nation resulting in significant reduction of scrap tire stockpiles and continued progress in putting waste tires to new uses.

“Scrap tire management in the United States is a huge environmental success story,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president. “Markets for scrap tires are growing and old piles of scrap tires are shrinking.”

In 2007, 89.3 percent of the scrap tires generated in the United States by weight were consumed in end-use markets. The total volume of scrap tires consumed in end-use markets reached approximately 4105.8 thousand tons of tires – the largest amount ever since RMA began tabulating scrap tire statistics.

RMA estimates that about 4595.7 thousand tons of tires were generated in the United States in 2007. By comparison, in 2005, about 82 percent of tires were consumed by weight. In 1990, only eleven percent of tires were consumed.

The percentage of scrap tires consumed by markets increased 13.5 percent, while the volume of tires utilized increased by about 489.7 thousand tons. The market percentage is affected not only by the volume of scrap tires consumed but also by the volume of scrap tires generated. The scrap tire generation rate has steadily increased along with the population in the United States, which tempers the increase in market percentage. This has been a consistent trend since RMA began to chronicle scrap tire markets in 1990.