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EPA Decision Will Affect Scrap Rubber




Scrap tire management is an environmental success story in the U.S. Recycled tires are used for, among other things, playground surfacing, soft sidewalks and other paving options specified by landscape architects and contractors. In 1990, more than one billion tires were stockpiled across the country while only 11 percent of annually generated scrap tires were reused. Today, fewer than 100 million tires remain stockpiled and nearly 90 percent of annually generated scrap tires are reused.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule that would significantly harm the existing infrastructure that manages scrap tires as well as reverse two decades of environmental cleanup success, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). After decades of EPA-sanctioned use, EPA is proposing now to declare whole scrap tires a solid waste. This will likely result in driving tens of millions of scrap tires back to landfills, stockpiles and illegal dumping sites. At the same time, EPA will still allow the use of processed scrap tires to be used as fuel only if most of the steel content is removed, which would add costs to TDF use for facilities such as cement kilns, and increase the amount of energy needed and air pollutants emitted to supply TDF to these facilities. Steel content in tires does not affect overall emissions when consumed as TDF. Instead, the steel is used as a raw material in the manufacture of cement.

Scrap tire management is an environmental success story in the U.S. In 1990, more than one billion tires were stockpiled across the country while only 11 percent of annually generated scrap tires were reused. Today, fewer than 100 million tires remain stockpiled and nearly 90 percent of annually generated scrap tires are reused. Each year, about 300 million scrap tires are generated in the U.S. Of those, about 52 percent are used as TDF in the cement industry, pulp and paper mills and by some utility and industrial boilers.


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November 22, 2019, 1:34 pm PDT

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