WASHINGTON—Scrap tire recycling has "stalled," according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Tire Manufacturing Association.
USTMA released its 2019 Scrap Tire Management Report Oct. 14 that shows almost 76 percent of scrap tires were recycled for the year.
But that figure is down from 96 percent in 2013, when the trade group said tire recycling peaked in the U.S.
USTMA looks at the scrap tire market every two years, and this is the association's 14th such report.
"Three decades after we successfully eliminated 94 percent of the over 1 billion scrap tires stockpiled around the country, this report reveals that efforts to find and develop new uses for scrap tires have stalled," USTMA CEO Anne Forristall Luke said in a statement. "We must take immediate steps to grow new and existing markets to recycle 100 percent of scrap tires. This not only protects our health and the environment—it drives innovation and jobs."
Scrap tire generation grew by almost 7 percent, the new report states. But the total number of scrap tires that were recycled or reclaimed has not really changed since 2017.
Popular uses for tires include use as fuel or mulch for landscaping. They also are used in rubber modified asphalt and automotive products.
The report also finds that the nation's stockpile of used tires stood at about 56 million in 2016 with a most being in a handful of states – Arizona, Colorado, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Last year's recycling rate of 75.6 percent compares with 81.4 percent in 2017 and 87.9 percent in 2015, USTMA reported.
The trade group, in releasing the latest numbers, urged states to resist taking money from scrap tire funds for use in other areas. USTMA supports "reasonable fees on the sale of new tires to manage state programs."
The association also calls for new public and private investments to spur innovation, research lifecycle impacts of different end uses, and share state-based information on a national level.
USMTA also sees the need for state and federal policies to encourage reuse and recycling of tires.
More information about the report is available at ustires.org.