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October 2003

Tire Industry Committee Fights to Dispel Myths About Recycled Rubber

Washington, DC— To capitalize on a useful resource, tire manufacturers are spearheading an effort to help increase markets for coarse rubber. The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has created a scrap tire industry ad hoc committee on coarse rubber — a continuation of a program launched at the 2002 Rubber Recycling Conference, which was sponsored by RMA and the Rubber Association of Canada.

Coarse rubber recycling has escalated in the past several years with an estimated 80 million pounds or about 6.5 million old tires, put to new uses in 2001. Efforts to find new uses for the nearly 300 million scrap tires generated annually in the U.S. have met with great success over the past decade. About 218 million scrap tires - 77 percent of all scrap tires generated — went to end use markets in 2001, according to RMA.

Among the challenges the new industry committee will face to expand coarse rubber markets is to fight a number of myths about recycled rubber. The committee wants to dispel these myths by collecting information on where this material is being used, how it is used and its safety benefits. The committee also will seek to establish voluntary industry guidelines for quality assurance of the raw material and finished product.

“This is a relatively new market for tire-generated rubber facing many old obstacles,” said Michael Blumenthal, senior technical director, RMA. “Our goal is to collect, organize and disseminate enough pertinent information and address the main questions and concerns facing the industry today.”

The ad hoc committee is comprised of representatives from the following industry groups: RMA, Scrap Tire News, Columbus McKinnon Corporation, Jaitire, BAS Recycling, Liberty Tire, and Emanuel Tire.

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