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Positive spin: as tire recycling grows in practice, a debate over terminology may follow.

When Recycling Today presented its list of the 20 Largest Tire Recyclers in North America in 2004, the intention was to present the handlers and processors of tires who prepared the scrap material for end consumers. Again this year, the majority of companies that handle large volumes of scrap tires are processors of whole tires who find varying end markets for the material, with the single largest one being the alternative energy market that consumes tire-derived fuel.

In most other recycling segments, those along the chain starting with collection and including processing and brokerage have adopted the label of recycler. The company operating the furnace or pulping mill at the end of the process is most commonly known as the consumer.

Michael Blumenthal, senior technical director with the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), Washington, says the manufacturers of products that use the crumb rubber and tire shreds produced by scrap tire processors should reserve the "recyclers" label for themselves, since their ability to close the loop is what makes the rest of the processing steps feasible.

RECYCLER OR CONSUMER? It can be hard to quantify whether uniform terminology is important within an industry. An argument can be made, though, that as any business grows and becomes more global, the notion of "everyone speaking the same language" becomes critical.

In the longer-established metals and paper recycling industries, scrap processors, paper packers and haulers who collect and sort curbside material are generally known as recyclers.

The mills, foundries and smelters that melt or pulp the collected scrap have become known as consumers as far as the processing industry is concerned.

Whether everyone in the collection-processing-manufacturing loop is pleased with how the terminology has evolved is debatable. Paper making and metals producing companies that have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment that allows them to turn scrap metal or paper into new products may wonder aloud whether should rightfully be considered the recyclers of these materials.

But as things stand with the accepted glossary, a broker or buyer in Asia most often uses a common terminology with trading partners in North America as to who is the consumer, the broker or the processor. A universal lexicon is in place.

In the still developing tire recycling sector, there may still be room for debate, and the RMA's Blumenthal is among those who would like to see some discussion.

"Tire recyclers would be companies that make products out of the scrap tire stream, says Blumenthal. "It's more than just semantics. If you look at the definitions from a third-party view, processing is not the same as recycling."

Blumenthal is reluctant to put makers of tire-derived fuel (TDF) into the recycling category. "That is energy recovery, but it is not recycling," he remarks. Similarly, he considers civil engineering applications as a form of reuse, but not recycling. "Making tires into new products such as rubber sidewalks or mats--that is a recycling activity," Blumenthal states.

He also acknowledges that there are some blurry lines as well. Blumenthal considers tires melted at electric arc furnace steel mills as a form of recycling since new steel is being manufactured, and he is uncertain where to put rubberized mulch or crumb rubber placed at athletic fields in the recycling spectrum, labeling them "in-between" markets.

Ultimately, Blumenthal says he is not out to alienate any of the critical steps in the recycling process. "We are all in the recycling business," he comments. "You can't get there without the intermediate steps."

He is hopeful, though, that by allowing manufacturers who put the highest value on scrap tires to adopt the "recycler" label, this will help cause a greater separation between disposal and a marketable commodity. "We have to be very careful about what the view of the industry is and our level of credibility."

THE 2006 MODEL. In both the 2004 version of Recycling Today's list of the "20 Largest Tire Recyclers in the North America" and in this year's version, there is a mixture of companies in different parts of the recycling chain.

Since the list is based on the volume of tires handled, companies that collect scrap tires, or perhaps even clean up stockpiles and then process them into TDF or another marketable product are the most common type of business on the list.

Some of these companies engage in additional value-added steps in the process, including several that make crumb rubber and a few that create manufactured products.

Many of the same companies that appeared on the 2004 list are back for this year's edition, although the one most notably missing is the former Recovery Technologies Group (RTG), Gutenberg, N.J. That company shuttered its operations and liquidated before 2004 had ended.

One of the few publicly traded companies on the list, GreenMan Technologies Inc., has been struggling to produce black ink on its balance sheet for the last couple of years and is now divesting itself of operations.

Although the company's 2005 totals afford it a place on this year's list, the sell-off of operations in Tennessee and Georgia will probably mean a major reduction in the number of PTEs it handles in the future. As the company continues to divest and write-down assets, speculation also centers on whether GreenMan can remain viable.

FUTURE THOUGHTS. One approach being considered for the future of this list is to create two separate lists--one for processors who shred whole tires and another for manufacturing companies that use tire shreds or crumb rubber to make new products.

On the positive side, this approach may help call attention to some of the manufacturers who did not make this list for volume reasons.

Among the challenges to consider, however, are whether to include some companies on both lists, and also whether TDF consumers such as cement kiln operators deserve to be part of one of the lists.

Readers interested in offering an opinion on how they would like to see this list presented in the future are urged to contact the author at btaylor@gie.net.

Additionally, readers who are aware of a company that should have appeared on this list or is a candidate for a future list are encouraged to call or email the magazine.

Although there is plenty of room to debate just how this list should be presented, the magazine's editors believe lists such as this one can help the industry have a clearer picture of who are the largest processors and recyclers of scrap tires.

RELATED ARTICLE: Overseas attention.

A number of recent transactions have involved European companies purchasing or developing tire recycling assets in the United States

This March, Netherlands-based Granuband B.V. acquired Dash Recycled Rubber Inc. (DRRI) of Macon, Mo. The new subsidiary has been named Granuband-Macon LLC.

According to a release from Granuband. "The company will continue the same activities with the personnel who are already employed at DRRI."

Granuband's three operations combined--two in Netherlands plus the newly acquired Missouri facility--recycle some 12 million PTEs (passenger tire equivalents) annually.

The Granuband-Macon plant will produce several sizes of shredded rubber that can be used as fill material and as rubber mulch.

RMD Americas LLC, Cocoa, Fla. has its roots in Spain but has been actively growing in the United States. In March of 2005, the company began setting up a manufacturing operation in Cocoa, Fla., designed to shred scrap tires it collects from sites throughout Florida

RMD Americas is affiliated with Leon. Spain-based-RMD SA, a recycling company and manufacturer of tire shredding equipment.

In July of 2005, RMD Americas acquired majority ownership in Martin's Tire of Marion, Ky., and announced plans to expand one of its facilities.

The author is editor of Recycling Today and can be contacted at btaylor@gie.net.
20 LARGEST TIRE RECYCLERS IN NORTH AMERICA

Company Company CEO PTEs No. of
Address or President Processed * Facilities

Liberty Tire Jeffrey D. Kendall 37.5 million 6
Services LLC
625 Liberty Ave.,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

GreenMan Bob Davis 22 million 6
Technologies Inc.
7 Kimball Lane,
Lynnfield, MA 01940

Emanuel Tire Co. Norman J. Emanuel 12.5 million 5
1300 Moreland Ave.,
Baltimore, MD 21216

Tire Disposal & Mark W. Hope 11.3 million 32
Recycling Inc.
P.O. Box 83478,
Portland, OR 97283

CRM H. Barry Takallou 10 million 3
11400 E. Pecos,
Queen Creek, AZ 85242

Lakin Tire East/West Robert Lakin 10 million 1
15305 Spring, Santa
Fe Springs, CA 90676

Florida Tire Jack Wilson 6 million 1
Recycling Inc.
9675 Range Line, Port
St. Lucie, FL 34987

Meridian Guy Mozzicato 6 million 1
Operations LLC
1414 Norwich Rd.,
Plainfield, CT 06374

TIRES Inc. David Forrester 6 million 3
5170-C Indiana,
Winston-Salem,
NC 27107

BAS Recycling Inc. Hratch Sarkis 5 million 1
1400 N. H St., San
Bernardino, CA 92405

RB Rubber Products Gregory J. Divis 4.5 million 3
904 E. 10th Ave.,
McMinnville, OR 97128

Integrated Tire Charles Piggot 4.4 million 1
333 Ganson St.,
Buffalo, NY 14203

Mac's Tire Recyclers Hal McPherson 4.2 million 1
Hwy. 145 North,
Saltillo, MS 38866

Champlin Tire Gary Champlin 4.1 million 1
Recycling
P.O. Box 445,
Concordia, KS 66901

Golden By- Jim Barstow 4 million 1
Products Inc.
13000 Newport Rd.,
Ballico, CA 95303

Waste Recovery Mark Hope 3.9 million 4
West Inc.
372 Florin Rd.,
Sacramento, CA 95831

Entech Inc. Neil Frey 3.6 million 1
69676 M-103, White
Pigeon, MI 49099

Utah Tire Recyclers Joe Viland 3.5 million 1
1398 N. Beck St.,
Salt Lake City,
UT 84116

Recycling Technologies Timothy J. Leighty 3.1 million 1
International LLC
60 Filbert St.,
Hanover, PA 17331

High Tread Derek Martin 3 million 1
International Ltd.
490 Ohio St.,
Lockport, NY 14094

Company Key Products/
Address End Markets

Liberty Tire TDF; lightweight aggregate;
Services LLC granulated rubber
625 Liberty Ave.,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

GreenMan TDF; crumb rubber
Technologies Inc.
7 Kimball Lane,
Lynnfield, MA 01940

Emanuel Tire Co. TDF; horse arena and
1300 Moreland Ave., playground cover material
Baltimore, MD 21216

Tire Disposal & TDF; civil engineering; crumb
Recycling Inc. rubber; ground cover
P.O. Box 83478,
Portland, OR 97283

CRM Asphalt rubber; landscaping;
11400 E. Pecos, molded goods; turf
Queen Creek, AZ 85242

Lakin Tire East/West TDF; civil engineering; crumb
15305 Spring, Santa rubber feedstock
Fe Springs, CA 90676

Florida Tire Crumb rubber; TDF
Recycling Inc.
9675 Range Line, Port
St. Lucie, FL 34987

Meridian Mulch; crumb rubber; TDF
Operations LLC
1414 Norwich Rd.,
Plainfield, CT 06374

TIRES Inc. Crumb rubber for molded
5170-C Indiana, products and infill; mulch
Winston-Salem,
NC 27107

BAS Recycling Inc. Granulated rubber for turf;
1400 N. H St., San playground surfacing; mats
Bernardino, CA 92405

RB Rubber Products Playground; agriculture;
904 E. 10th Ave., fitness; cargo containment
McMinnville, OR 97128

Integrated Tire TDF; crumb rubber; reusable
333 Ganson St., casings
Buffalo, NY 14203

Mac's Tire Recyclers Chips for TDF
Hwy. 145 North,
Saltillo, MS 38866

Champlin Tire Manufactured products,
Recycling including outdoor furniture
P.O. Box 445,
Concordia, KS 66901

Golden By- TDF; playground/landscape;
Products Inc. athletic turf
13000 Newport Rd.,
Ballico, CA 95303

Waste Recovery TDF; crumb rubber; reusable
West Inc. casings
372 Florin Rd.,
Sacramento, CA 95831

Entech Inc. TDF; septic and landfill drainage
69676 M-103, White material; crumb rubber
Pigeon, MI 49099

Utah Tire Recyclers TDF; crumb rubber; alternative
1398 N. Beck St., daily landfill cover
Salt Lake City,
UT 84116

Recycling Technologies Automotive parts; bonded
International LLC rubber/molded products
60 Filbert St.,
Hanover, PA 17331

High Tread Crumb rubber; tire wire steel;
International Ltd. landscape mulch
490 Ohio St.,
Lockport, NY 14094

* = Passenger Tire Equivalents; Some figures are estimates
provided by the company or based on previous responses;
(1) = Figure is from before recent divestitures;
(2) = Figure does not include four additional transportation hubs
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Title Annotation:TIRE RECYCLERS LIST
Comment:Positive spin: as tire recycling grows in practice, a debate over terminology may follow.(TIRE RECYCLERS LIST)
Author:Taylor, Brian
Publication:Recycling Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2006
Words:1960
Previous Article:On screen: C&D recyclers take different approaches to screening depending materials they process and their end products.
Next Article:Getting the steel out: CM liberator helps Alternative Fuel Source Inc. expand into new markets.
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