WASHINGTON (Oct. 1, 2010)—Twenty years ago today, the Rubber Manufacturers Association founded the Scrap Tire Management Council, the first organization in America devoted to developing end-use markets for scrap tires and cleaning up scrap tire stockpiles.
Although the STMC has since been absorbed into the RMA, the original mandate for scrap tire abatement and recycling continues unabated in the organization, the RMA said.
In 1990, the RMA said, 11 percent of scrap tires were being recycled annually, and 1 billion lay in stockpiles across the U.S. Now, 86 percent of scrap tires are being recycled, and stockpiled tires stand at about 100 million.
“Having achieved major success over the past two decades, RMA and our members have not relented and continue to work with a broad spectrum of scrap tire industry stakeholders and regulators to ensure that these successes are not reversed,” said RMA President Charles A. Cannon in a press release.
Lack of information about scrap tires and the difficulties of market development were the two biggest challenges the tire industry faced in its scrap tire efforts in its early years, according to RMA Vice President Michael Blumenthal. Blumenthal has directed the RMA's scrap tire efforts from the beginning, when he was hired as STMC executive director in 1990.
“One of the very expensive lessons that had to be learned by government agencies was that the scrap tire industry has always been a demand-pull industry,” Blumenthal said. “Subsidizing the supply of processed scrap tires when the demand for it doesn't exist causes oversupply, falling prices and failing businesses.”