PITTSBURGH–New research is updating the average weight of recycled passenger and light truck tires by a substantial amount—25 percent.
It's an important change as the figure helps tire recyclers more accurately conduct business and assess the environmental impact of their work.
Research conducted through the Tire Industry Association shows the typical recycled passenger and light truck tire weighs about 25 pounds. That's a significant increase compared with the popular 20-pound estimate that has been used in the industry for at least two decades, said Dick Gust, chairman of TIA's Environmental Advisory Council.
"We're very comfortable with that number. Tire sizes have gotten bigger. Wheel diameters have gotten bigger. It doesn't take a genius to go out and look at tires and say, 'Hey, they're bigger,'" he said.
The previous estimate of 20 pounds was a fair estimate, Gust said. But times have changed, and so have tires.
"That was probably a pretty good number because most of the tires were 13-, 14-, 15-inch wheel diameter. But our industry became a lot more professional. A lot more processors got involved and tires began to get larger. Sixteen-, 17-, 18-inch wheel diameters these days are pretty common," he said.
Having a more accurate average used-tire weight is important on a number for fronts, said Gust, who also is president of national account sales for Pittsburgh-based Liberty Tire Recycling L.L.C.
The new 25-pound average better reflects the output of the tire recycling industry as well as the throughput on processing machinery. This helps companies better assess their costs and profits.
The new estimate also helps on the legislative and regulatory levels as the figure better reflects today's market conditions, Gust said. The higher figure, for example, could impact the amount of grant money received to process used tires. An updated figure also will help create more accurate recycling and diversion rates.
News of the new weight estimate comes just a few months after the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association published data that shows tire recycling has stalled in recent years.