AKRON—With a 94 percent reduction in stockpiled scrap tires between 1990 and 2017, U.S. efforts to clean up tire stockpiles is one of the great success stories in recycling, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association's scrap tire expert told those attending the International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Akron.
But problem spots remain in several states that either saw bankruptcies among scrap tire processors or let their scrap tire abatement programs lapse, John Sheerin, director of end-of-life tire programs for USTMA, said during his ITEC presentation in Akron Sept. 11.
The U.S. had about 1 billion scrap tires in stockpiles in 1990, the year the USTMA—then known as the Rubber Manufacturers Association—began its scrap tire program, Sheerin said.
In 2017, the number of stockpiled tires had fallen to 60 million, largely because of the USTMA working with states to develop programs to clean up stockpiles and develop markets for recycled tire rubber, he said.
However, scrap tire emergencies still occur. Sheerin pointed to South Carolina as an example. The state is faced with 800,000 stockpiled tires left by a processor that went bankrupt. The state has allocated $2.7 million for cleanup, he said.
Among other states, Colorado is faced with two or three massive tire monofills that the state is required to clean up by 2024, according to Sheerin.
"Texas has 17 million stockpiled tires that they know of, and I know of no plan to clean them up," he said. "The state needs a new program."
Two states—Louisiana and West Virginia—claim to have no stockpiled scrap tires, according to Sheerin.
"Louisiana has done the work and the cleanups," he said. "The number of stockpiled tires is probably not zero, but the state is very environmentally aware.
"But West Virginia hasn't done the work," he said. "It hasn't even looked for stockpiles."