Tire Treaty

United States and Mexico confront waste tires.

The United States and Mexico have reached an agreement to address concerns surrounding the more than 3.5 million waste tires that have piled up along the border. In May, federal and state agencies from both countries signed the Tire Initiative Collaborative Effort, a joint effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. Among the U.S. states that have or are expected to sign the initiative are California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

According to the EPA, there are 42 identified tire piles in the Mexican border region. In the United States alone, more than 290 million scrap tires are generated each year. “Collaboration is an essential component to solving this bi-national problem,” said Ellie Kanipe, international policy analyst for the EPA's Office of Solid Waste, in a press release. The initiative calls for several steps to facilitate the cleanups. First, an inventory of scrap tire piles along the border will be created, and studies of potentially hazardous sites and the impact they have on surrounding communities will be conducted. The agreement also calls for documents, handbooks, regulations and training seminars to help guard against irresponsible tire disposal. Finally, according to the agreement, the involved parties will formulate detailed cleanup plans, and conduct outreach projects and training sessions for tire haulers and dealers.

“California is committed to effectively managing waste tires, reducing greenhouse gases and developing a stronger relationship with our neighbors in Mexico,” said Margo Reid Brown, chair of the California Integrated Waste Management Board, in a press release.