Maybe, just maybe, the rubber industry has turned the corner on recycling.
A change in philosophy is taking hold among industry participants. There is a growing realization that no single solution exists to solving the scrap tire problem.
The ``single-solution syndrome'' has been one of the problems with the scrap tire/recycling issue. Proponents of methods to utilize or eliminate used tires often have pushed their ideas as the end-all: burn them, use them all in asphalt, etc., and all junked tires will disappear.
Things don't work that way. Realities like ``not in my backyard'' have slowed schemes to burn tires to produce energy; the increased cost associated with rubberized asphalt marshalled forces against that idea.
Instead of one big solution, hundreds of companies have developed ``little'' solutions. Individually, these approaches take a smaller piece out of the scrap tire pile. Taken together-and added to higher-volume methods of disposing of scrap tires-and a future is coming where the nation finds use for all the tires it junks each year.
Another problem in promoting rubber recycling is an over-reliance on government involvement. Legislation and government policy can help promote recycling, but can't be the ultimate solution.
For decades recycled rubber has played second-fiddle to virgin rubber because of performance and price. No government action could change that fact.
Now virgin rubber costs have risen to the point where recycled rubber can be competitive. And the technology to obtain and use recycled rubber has blossomed, while the world has embraced the concept of recycling.
If a material adds value to a product, it becomes a commodity that can stand on its own feet. Then it needs no subsidy or legislation to create demand.
Recycled rubber seems to be approaching that status.
Never say die
The union movement in Canada doesn't give up, even when it should.
For the 10th time, a union organization attempt at three Groupe Michelin plants in Nova Scotia has failed.
It sounds like the workers have spoken, but labor groups haven't listened.