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Comeback season for US scrap tyres?

United States – The US tyre recycling industry will experience a ‘rebound’ in 2014 owing to good results for rubberised asphalt and crumb rubber, reports Tire Business. Even demand for tyre-derived fuel (TDF) will witness a partial comeback, specialists at the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Tire Industry Association (TIA) have predicted.

The rate for scrap tyres used slipped from 85.3% in 2009 to 81.6% in 2011; exact figures for the 2011-2013 period will be published in the coming weeks. ′What we′re seeing is that there is no clear-cut pattern for the market per se,′ notes RMA′s vice president Michael Blumenthal.

Overall, he is ′encouraged′ by the outlook for the many differing scrap tyre markets. ′Last year, we saw an upswing for TDF in a number of places,′ he points out. One exception is New England, which is still feeling the effects of the closure of the TDF-fuelled electricity plant run by Exeter Energy Limited Partnership. ′There are 8 million tyres Exeter used to consume every year that are now looking for a home,′ Blumenthal says.

Pressure stabilising?

US scrap tyre exports – notably to Asia – have caused major disruption over the last couple of years, observes Dick Gust, president of national accounts for Liberty Tire Recycling and co-chairman of the TIA′s Environmental Advisory Council. The exporting of baled tyres created a ′downward pressure′ on the collection fees required by recyclers to maintain operating revenue, he notes.

The situation changed when the scrap tyre export market declined in late 2013 as Asian governments banned further scrap tyre imports, he continues. As a result, Gust argues, the US recycling market ′should stabilise′ and move forward with both increased use of TDF and expansion of crumb rubber into higher-end markets.

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