The number of stockpiled scrap tires in the U.S. dropped by more than 80 percent, according to a new report from the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
Furthermore, nearly seven-eighths of the scrap tires generated last year-259 million out of 299 million-went to some sort of end-use, with tire-derived fuel by far the most popular.
"Scrap Tire Markets in the United States" is the eighth biennial report in a series that the RMA has released since 1990. Like previous reports, the edition issued Dec. 5 contains detailed information on the growth of scrap tire markets, both by specific usage and as a whole.
For the first time in an RMA scrap tire study, however, the new report ranks the 50 states according to the best, worst and most improved performers in scrap tire management. Those states were ranked highest, the association said, that had the most tires that went to end-markets and the least in stockpiles or landfills.
South Carolina placed first in the RMA ranking, for sending all the 6.5 million tires it generated in 2005 to end-markets and using nearly 1.5 million more scrap tires beyond that. Some 6 million of those tires were used as TDF, the RMA said, with nearly 2 million more going to civil engineering and rubberized asphalt projects.
Maine and North Carolina tied for second in the report's ranking, with Florida fourth and Mississippi fifth. Alaska and Wyoming tied for last place. For most improved in scrap tire management, Texas ranked first, with Alabama second, Ohio and Michigan tied for third, and Massachusetts fifth.
Among markets for scrap tires, TDF consumed some 155 million tires, or 52 percent of the total, according to the report. The material remains popular for cement kilns, pulp and paper mills, and industrial and utility boilers, and should continue to grow over the next two years, it said.
However, it also noted that there are legal challenges to the use of TDF, both direct and indirect, as well as limited potential for TDF in some regions because of a shortage of scrap tires there.
Civil engineering was second among scrap tire markets, accounting for some 49 million tires. Ground rubber applications-such as new rubber products, playground and athletic surfacing and rubberized asphalt-were third with 38 million tires.
The U.S. scrap tire market has grown steadily since 1990, when only 11 percent of scrap tires found an end-use, the report said. In 2003, 233.3 million scrap tires were recycled, 80.4 percent of the 290.2 million generated.
The 93-page report can be downloaded or printed from www.rma.org.