As one of the world's largest tyre markets, the task of sustainably managing the USA's end-of -life tyre volume could be expected to be daunting. So in 1991 the US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) began its efforts to address the issue.
Now, citing figures from its recently released 2017 U.S. Scrap Tire Report, the USTMA is calling scrap tyre management one of the country's "great environmental success stories."
As of 2017, more than 81 percent of scrap tyres in the U.S. find a useful end-life in products such as tyre-derived fuel, rubber-modified asphalt and other products. That result contrasts with 1991, when only one scrap tyre in ten was effectively reused.
USTMA's report also noted that the number of stockpiled scrap tyres plummeted by 94 percent to about 60 million in 2017, from about 1 billion in 1991. According to Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA president and CEO, 'tyre management in the U.S. demonstrates an environmental success story - one that not enough people know about. Over the past 30 years, USTMA has worked with state partners to find uses for scrap tires and our success is reflective of the commitment to environmental responsibility from our industry."
TDF and rubber-modified asphalt are expected to continue to be the key areas of growth in the USA scrap tyre industry, and will remain the focus of the USTMA's scrap tyre management efforts.
The American story points a way for TSA, as it works towards long-term domestic sustainable management, but it also indicates that the issue, decades in the making, will be one that will take years of consistent, patient and cooperative effort to substantially address.