Original Location

World Leaders Discuss Scrap Tires 

Tire recycling making strides, global officials say. 

Strategies for dealing with the issue of scrap tires and how best to recover, recycle and reuse them are global challenges. That was the consensus of the world's leading experts from government, the private sector and academia gathered at "Rubber Recycling '98: The North American Experience" October 22-23, in Mississauga, Ontario Canada. 

Opening the two-day event, speakers from Europe's Bureau de Liason des Industries du Caoutchou de l'U.E., the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC), the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Scrap Tire Management Council discussed the different initiatives and strategies for managing scrap tires in their particular region of the world. 

Establishing viable markets and dealing with regulations at all levels are still impediments to recycling, the global panelists said. 

In Europe, concern for sustainable development is the overriding factor in developing tire recycling programs, Gianpaolo Giuliani of Pirelli Settore Pneumatic said. "We must meet the needs of the present without compromising future generations," he said. European tire manufacturers in each country set up non-profit boards on the national level funded by manufacturers and importers. The boards are designed to promote proper scrap tire management, and encourage advances in recycling research and development. 

Europe: shared responsibility 

Responsibility for tire recycling is shared by all parties Guiliani said. "Everybody who takes some advantage or profit from tires is responsible for their disposal - producers, dealers, retreaders, consumers and collectors," he said. 

Currently, the largest and most profitable use for tires in Europe is energy recovery, but the industry is lacking in materials recovery operations and a good network of tire collectors, Guiliani said. 

To encourage a more diverse market, the EU commissioned a report on how to promote tire recycling in Europe. According to Guiliani the recently released report, recommended several steps including a review of recycling industry standards, more support for market development, life-cycle cost analysis studies and a public awareness campaign targeting the benefits of recycling. 

Retreads - an answer for Japan 

In Japan, 91 percent of the 102 million scrap tires generated last year were reused in some way, according to Muneyoshi Imasato, chairman of the Environmental Committee of the Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers Association. Energy recovery is the largest end-use for tires in Japan, Imatso said. Fifty-one percent of all scrap tires recovered last year were burned as fuel, he said. Seventeen percent were exported for reuse, 12 percent recycled, 8 percent retreaded and 3 percent used for miscellaneous purposes, he said. 

Imatso pointed out Japan's scrap tire problem is compounded by Japan's low rate of retreading as compared to Europe and the U.S. Low cost new tires and lack of a stable amount of casings are two reasons retreading has not grown in Japan, he said. The tire manufacturers association is exploring ways to improve the retreading situation, Imatso said. One option is to provide some sort of tax advantage for retreading, similar to those available in the U.S. 

A total of 20 million scrap tires are being recycled annually in Canada, Don Campbell, president of the Rubber Association of Canada said. Only two provinces - Ontario and Newfoundland - do not have stewardship programs for scrap tires, he said. 

In the U.S., 75 percent of all scrap tires generated last year were reused in some fashion, John Serumgard, Chairman of the STMC said. This compares with 11 percent in 1990. The STMC estimates the U.S. generates about 270 million scrap tires annually and has about 800 million scrap tires in stockpiles. On the regulatory side 48 states have laws regarding scrap tire management. Current uses include tdf which consumes about 152 million units, civil engineering 18 million units in 1998, fabricated products 8 million units, and ground rubber about 400 million lbs. Serumgard also noted that despite these markets tire landfilling and monofilling "will be with us for some time" in many areas of the U.S. 

Back to List