Tires collected by Firestone and Ford Motor Co. dealerships during Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s 6.5 million-tire recall need to go somewhere, and the question is where.
The answer, according to John Serumgard, executive vice president of the Scrap Tire Management Council, is that the extra tires shouldn't pose a strain on the existing scrap tire management system.
Serumgard estimated the recall will create a 2- to 2.5-percent overall increase in scrap tires and shouldn't pose a glut in any particular area.
"What you might see is small increases on an individual, store-by-store basis, and that will be spread all over the country," he said.
All recalled Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires received by Bridgestone/Firestone will be shredded and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, Executive Vice President John Lampe said without elaborating.
Bridgestone/Firestone has a disposal system in place among its company-owned stores that manages large numbers of scrap tires constantly, said Tim Bent, company senior environmental manager.
"We've spoken with all of our contractors, and they're ready, willing and able to handle this," Bent said. "We have management systems in place across the country to manage all of our scrap tires from all of our various outlets, wherever those are."
Whenever possible, the tires will be recycled into end-use products, depending on the local market, he said. The tire maker and Ford dealerships are working together "to synergize resources" and move tires to recycling endpoints, Bent said.
Part of the cooperation between the companies involves using the same haulers and processors, he said. Bent had no data available on how many scrap tires collected by Bridgestone/Firestone company-owned stores are recycled or sent to landfills.
Ford said its dealers have been instructed to cut up the tires and dispose of them according to their local laws. The auto maker is developing a plan with Bridgestone/Firestone to recycle as many tires as possible, but wouldn't elaborate, a spokeswoman said.