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State of the Scrap Tire Industry

From American - May 5, 2023

Each year, the U.S. generates approximately 300 million scrap tires. While a number of these end up in landfills, the majority of scrap tires are used in a variety of ways, including as ground material rubber to create rubber-modified asphalt.

According to John Sheerin, director, End-of-Life Tire Programs at the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), the tire recycling industry is in a state of transition. As he explained, there is a distinct trend towards increased utilization of ground tire rubber in new products like molded and extruded goods and landscaping mulch.

“Further growth in rubber modified asphalt is expected,” Sheerin said. “However, continuing movement towards non-solid fuels have adversely impacted tirederived fuel markets that historically have consumed the majority of scrap tires since the 1990s. So, we are seeing a shift towards more material reuse. The last 12 months have seen a return to normalcy after the global pandemic with in-person meetings and compliance inspections resuming. We are seeing more activity.”

Amy Brackin, senior vice president of sustainability at Liberty Tire Recycling, added that in many ways the tire recycling industry is the most complex it has been in the last decade. As she explained, the industry must now balance the demand from retailers and manufacturers to provide the highest and best use of end-of-life (EOL) tires, the further demand from retailers to have timely and dependable end-of-life (EOL) tire services, and the regulatory demands of us as recyclers.



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