MONTREAL—If one common denominator exists for end-of-life tire management across the globe, it could be this: There is no common denominator.
Each country, as well as in each state in the U.S. and province and territory in Canada, has its own set of regulations that address discarded tires or, in some cases, what to do with stockpiles.
That was the underlying theme during a session at the Rubber Recycling Symposium, held recently in Montreal. The Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, along with Recyc-Quebec, sponsored the biennial symposium, titled Driving Innovation to Drive Markets.
The difference in programs is particularly striking in the U.S., where each state, rather than the federal government, regulates scrap tires. That includes market development, cleaning up stockpiles, developing regulations and initiating and implementing incentive and grant programs. The U.S. generates about 6 million scrap tires annually.
“But the important point to note, unlike many programs, the fees that are collected by the state largely do not fund the actual process and uses of the tires,” said Tracey Norberg, senior vice president and general counsel for the Rubber Manufacturers Association. “That's usually funded as a separate line item collected by the retailer. The regulation set the ground rules, storage requirements and requirements for haulers and process.”
Norberg said some states offer subsidies and grants and enforce the ground rules, while others don't.
“Some states don't do them well, some do them pretty well,” she said. Each state program, Norberg said, is “all over the map.”
For example, Norberg said:
• 37 states have state fees;
• 44 states have regulations on storage and disposal;
• 36 states require haulers to have permits;
• 14 states require financial assurances from haulers;
• 32 states require financial assurance from processors;
• 21 states allow monofills;
• 38 states require tires be cut or shredded to be in a landfill;
• 12 states allow whole tires to be in a landfill.
Norberg highlighted two states that are in different stages of dealing with scrap tires: Colorado and California.
Colorado recently passed legislation to clean up the state's 60 million-plus stockpiled scrap tires. Norberg said the state adopted a tiered approach to dealing with the problem. For every tire sent to a monofill, she said, two have to be recycled. As of 2018, tires no longer can be sent to monofill. In addition, the law set the scrap tire ceiling fee at $1.50 per tire until 2018; that year, the fee is reduced to 55 cents per tire. The law applies to automobile, trailer, truck, motor home and motorcycle tires.
California, meanwhile, is patterning some of its stringent scrap tire program after Ontario, but the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery does not have the authority to legislate the industry.