|Exports produce scrap tire shortage
A shortage of scrap tires that drastically reduced tipping fees collected by recyclers in some regions of the country has eased as China tightened its import restrictions, but observers say it could resume at any time and impose significant hardships for many recyclers in hard-hit areas.
Scrap automobile and truck tires are recycled for a variety of end uses, from being burned for fuel to power cement kilns and electric generation plans to being ground up for use in roadway paving and running tracks. The supply of scrap tires is normally stable, with the U.S. vehicle fleet generating approximately 300 million tires per year due to replacement and retirement.
But around the beginning of 2011, that changed. Exports of baled scrap tires to Vietnam surged powerfully and stayed well ahead of normal levels for about 18 months. During this period Vietnam was importing tires at a rate of about 20 million annually, according to Michael Blumenthal, vice president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association, a Washington, D.C., industry group representing tire makers.
The baled tires sent to Vietnam were ultimately headed to China, Blumenthal said. There, they were primarily burned for energy generation. China officially bans importation of scrap tires, but because the tires were in demand for the country’s industries, it looked the other way at tires entering from Vietnam, he stated. ...read more
Salvage auction access prompts legislative actions in several states
Auto recyclers in three states are in the middle of or have just finished dealing with major legislative efforts aimed at changing rules about who can bid on cars at salvage auctions. Two laws recently passed in Florida and Utah have tightened restrictions, while one under consideration in Ohio would open auctions up to almost anyone.
The Ohio Auto and Truck Recyclers Association, representing the state’s nearly 800 licensed recyclers, has been in a pitched battle over Senate Bill 273. The bill introduced in the current session of the Ohio legislature would amend state law to permit people other than licensed salvage dealers to buy cars at salvage auctions.
Proponents of the bill, including automobile insurance companies, say it would result in lower automobile insurance premiums for Ohio drivers by allowing insurers to receive higher prices for wrecked cars sold via salvage auctions. They also say it would ease unemployment, by creating more jobs in the insurance industry. ...read more