Leaders Discuss Scrap Tires
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
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
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.