WASHINGTON-Dissolving the Scrap Tire Management Council and moving its activities into a new department within the Rubber Manufacturers Association received matter-of-fact reviews from participants in the scrap tire community.
``If the services they offer continue to be the same, it won't make such a difference,'' said Cornelia ``Corny'' Snyder, president of JaiTire Inc., a Colorado-based manufacturer of crumb rubber turf dressing.
``I would suspect this will have no effect other than the name change,'' said Mike Schnekenburger, chief financial officer of NRI Industries Inc., the Toronto-based manufacturer of automotive parts and other products from recycled rubber.
The new department, Environmental and Resource Recovery, will cover all environmental and scrap recovery issues for the RMA. The official date for the department's formation was Oct. 1, according to an association spokesman.
Tracey L. Norberg, former RMA director of environmental affairs, is the new department's vice president, and Michael Blumenthal, former STMC executive director, is the department's senior technical adviser.
John Serumgard, former STMC president and RMA executive vice president, left the association. Both Serumgard and RMA President Donald B. Shea declined to discuss Serumgard's departure.
When the STMC was formed under the RMA's aegis in 1990, the association considered it important to keep the STMC separate, at least in the public's mind, from the RMA. But that has changed, the RMA spokesman said.
``The overall idea was that if you want information concerning tires, you contact the RMA,'' he said. ``We still do it all; it's all the same.''
Soon after announcing the retirement of the STMC name, the RMA announced two major scrap-tire-related activities: its co-sponsorship, with the Maryland Department of the Environment, of the first Mid-Atlantic Regional Scrap Tire Management Conference in Annapolis, Md., Nov. 8-9; and its participation in the Empire Energy & Environmental Exposition in Albany, N.Y., the week of Nov. 5.
The Mid-Atlantic conference was designed to cover regulations, legislation and market development in Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and New York.
Over the past few years, New York has been the focus of intense RMA attention, including its participation in the New York State Consensus Roundtable for Scrap Tires.
The roundtable's findings, released in 2000, led the way for passage of state scrap tire legislation in 2001, according to an RMA news release.
At the environmental exposition in Albany, the RMA urged participants and state officials to create a long-term plan for scrap tire abatement and market development, Blumenthal said.
With 50 million stockpiled scrap tires and 18 million to 20 million more generated annually, New York is one of the top three states in the number of unused scrap tires within its borders.
Despite the state's scrap tire problems and widespread sentiment to solve them, New York never has had a dedicated effort on that issue, according to Blumenthal.
``They have a general grant for recyclables, but tires have to compete with every secondary material under the sun,'' he said.
``The programs the state has had have not focused on long-term market development. There's also no other state-directed program-nothing on scrap tire abatement or enforcement.''