GREENVILLE, S.C.—The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association is calling on stakeholders up and down the tire supply chain, as well as government and academia, to get more engaged in efforts to increase the rate of recycling of scrap tires.
"To reach our goal of 100 percent scrap tires entering sustainable end-use markets, we need to continue to work with our state, industry and academic partners to grow existing markets and develop new ones," Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA president and CEO, said at the USTMA's Scrap Tire Recycling Conference in Greenville, ,
In her remarks, Luke noted that the percentage of the estimated 250 million scrap tires generated annually in the U.S. that are reused in some form has grown in the past 30 years to 81 percent from 11 percent.
"We have come a long way, but we have more work to do," she said. "Building effective partnerships, talking about important issues, and driving effective solutions is our charge."
The recycling conference runs Dec. 4-5 in Greenville. It's co-sponsored by Michelin North America Inc., the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Scrap Tire Research & Education Foundation Inc.
Among the end-uses cited by the USTMA are rubber-modified asphalt, tire-derived fuel, molded and extruded automotive products, micronized rubber powder and reclaimed carbon black.
In her comments, Luke called on tire manufacturers, auto manufacturers, recyclers, retailers and environmental regulators from across the country to explore emerging trends in the circular economy, including challenges and opportunities for new and existing markets for scrap tires.
"South Carolina is proud to host this year's Scrap Tire Recycling Conference," said Bobby Hitt, secretary of commerce for South Carolina—home to more tire manufacturing capacity than any other state in the U.S. She added that South Carolina recognizes the significance of developing sustainable end-use markets for scrap tires and is "benefitting from a robust scrap tire sustainability plan, and (we) look forward to sharing our experiences with other state representatives and industry leaders during the conference."
Rick Toomey, director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, added: "If South Carolina can be a national leader in tire production and exports, it also can be a national leader in the sustainable management of scrap tires."
Among the topics on the agenda at the conference are the importance of robust state scrap tire programs and the enforcement of scrap tire regulations and the outlook for emerging markets such as pyrolysis and devulcanization.