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Scrap Tire Demand Grows Due to Innovative Recycling Efforts

Washington D.C. - The market demand for scrap tires consumed 174.5 million tires in 1995, representing 69 percent of the total 253 million scrap tires generated and a 26 percent increase from 1994 figures, according to the Scrap Tire Management Council (STMC), Washington D.C.

The largest increase in use was from tire-derived fuel, increasing from 101 million tires in 1994 to 130 million in 1995. Other areas showing noticeable increases were civil engineering and ground rubber application, both by 33 percent.

The STMC said it was encouraged by the year-end numbers and expects even better results this year, predicting 75 percent of all scrap tires generated to be recycled.

The STMC's optimism comes from innovative tire disposal education and enforcement programs, as well as programs that encourage reusing tire rubber. For example, San Bernardino, Calif., and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), Tallahassee, Fla., both are forging ahead with scrap tire programs.

The City of San Bernardino generates approximately 258,000 scrap tires annually, and has had problems with illegal disposal. Often, large piles of tires turn up overnight in vacant fields and alleys. To crack down on illegal dumping the city has begun a two-part waste tire management program.

The program involves a new city-operated waste tire collection initiative coupled with an education and enforcement policy targeting tire sellers who will be required to produce accurate documentation of their used tire disposal.

Meanwhile, in west-central Florida, the FDEP went the extra mile to recycle when paving the With-lacoochee State Trail. The entire 46-mile recreational trail, which spans the counties of Pasco, Hernando and Citrus, became the first in the nation to be paved using crumb rubber from waste tires.

The FDEP worked with the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) to grind the rubber from a pile of 2 million abandoned waste tires into a fine powder to be used in the trail's paving mix.

Florida DOT officials reportedly have found that recycled tire rubber in asphalt serves as a moisture barrier, prevents cracks from spreading, improves durability and reduces pavement wear.