What are the Issues?
The EPA estimates the generation of scrap tires to be approximately 1 per capita, with an average weight per tire of 20 – 22 lbs. Many scrap tires were historically discarded in large stockpiles, but most of these have been removed over the last 3 decades. Traditional markets for tires were primarily tire derived fuel (TDF), and civil engineering uses. TDF, still approximately 50% of today’s (2017) market includes cement kilns, coal power plants, and paper mills. Connecticut had a dedicated tire energy plant in the town Sterling in eastern CT, but this facility shuttered in 2013. Dedicated tire energy facilities are the exception. The closure of the Sterling facility with its permitted capacity of 10 million tires, greatly altered the disposal landscape in Connecticut and through-out New England.
The issues facing Connecticut are very similar to those in other states. Some states have enacted tire disposal fees to help address stock piles and support nascent market efforts as exemplified by the use of scrap tire in road asphalt
The closure of the Sterling plant coupled with the necessary assessment of disposal fees has increased municipal tire costs and led to illegal disposal in many areas, especially our urban centers. Stored or discarded tires become breeding grounds for mosquitoes as they collect rainwater and lack natural predators.
Bridgestone, a large tire manufacturer launched the Voluntary program to ensure that one tire was recycled for each tire sold.
Connecticut has introduced bills for a tire stewardship program in 2015 and 2016. Below are listed links to studies that outline some of the fundamental information on scrap tire management.
CT DEEP in partnership with the Product Stewardship Institute hosted a Stewardship Dialogue Meeting on tires, Wednesday, January 21, in 2015.
Link CTPSC Tire Testimony
Link: WA Scrap Tire Report