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Scrap tire utilization climbs over 50%.

More than half of all scrap tires were headed to sound end-use markets, the Rubber Manufacturers Association claims in a recent study done by its Scrap Tire Management Council.

The study found that 55.4% of more than 250 million new scrap tires generated each year had markets in 1994. This represents an increase in market applications of 17% from the STMC's 1992 market study. The total markets for scrap tires has risen by 500% from 1990, when the total market for scrap tires consumed 11% of the annually generated scrap tires.

The expanded market study identified and surveyed seven current end user markets including tire-derived fuel (TDF), civil engineering, ground rubber applications, stamped products, agricultural, export and pyrolysis. Of all the markets surveyed, tire-derived fuel continues to be the single largest market with more than 100 million scrap tires being consumed. This rate of use was consistent with the 1992 projections.

Civil engineering applications are another growth market for scrap tire use. The number of scrap tires going to civil engineering nearly doubled over the last two years, from five million to nine million scrap tires. This level exceeded the 1992 projections

The use of ground rubber in rubber modified asphalt is one market segment that did not meet the 1992 projected growth rate. The 1992 projections were based on full implementation of the asphalt rubber mandate in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). To date, ISTEA, which required states to begin using prescribed quantities of rubber modified asphalt in federally assisted highways, has not been implemented. The projected use of rubber modified asphalt was scaled back in STMC's 1994 study due to the likelihood that full implementation of ISTEA will not occur.

Overall, end users of scrap tire derived products reported that scrap tires provided both economic and engineering benefits. Usually, TDF or scrap tire shreds in civil engineering applications could be obtained at a lower cost than the normal fuel or fill material. On the engineering front, scrap tires regularly provide enhanced characteristics or performance traits. Examples of engineering benefits include, but are not limited to, lower emission levels (for TDF), increased elasticity and crack resistance (in rubber modified asphalt), and providing a lighter-weight material (in civil engineering applications).

"We are certainly pleased to find that the acceptance of scrap tire-generated materials has increased over the past two years," said Michael Blumenthal, executive director of the STMC. While the STMC has achieved its first goal of a 50% market rate, there is still a significant challenge to find markets for the other half of the annual scrap tire flow, Blumenthal added.

The market study also surveyed potential end-users and state regulatory officials to determine the likely rate of consumption in 1995 and 1996. The survey results suggest that markets for scrap tires could consume some 87% of annually generated scrap tires by the end of 1996. Another feature of the report is an estimate of the volume of stockpiled scrap tires, based on a survey of all 50 states. The survey estimates that there are about 800 million tires in stockpiles, a significantly smaller number than the 2 to 3 billion figure normally accepted.

Tire piles exaggerated?

Scrap tire piles probably hold far fewer than one billion tires, and likely do not exceed 800 million tires, the STMC says in this report.

Findings indicate that the inventory of above ground stockpiles of scrap tires does not exceed 800 million scrap tires. Earlier studies, including a 1991 EPA scrap tire market survey, estimated 2-3 billion scrap tires in above ground stockpiles. The STMC's report is based on a survey of all 50 states and is the first attempt to clearly identify stock pile size. The results could have a significant impact on state and federal solid waste planners and policy makers dealing with scrap tire issues.

"This new information should reduce some of the anxiety normally associated with consideration of scrap tire-related issues. In addition, it should help reduce some of the rhetoric used to promote dubious scrap tire management schemes," stated John Serumgard, chairman of the STMC. "We do recognize that there still is a substantial volume of stockpiled tires, and any tire stockpile could present a major problem to the local community. However, the more realistic stockpile figures should help put the scrap tire issue in better perspective," Serumgard said.

While all states did not have stockpile data available, the survey results indicated that most states have around three stockpiled tires per capita. There were several notable exceptions, including Minnesota and Oregon, the first two states to implement scrap fire legislation had far fewer stockpiled tires per capita. Minnesota should have their entire inventory abated by 1996. There were also several states which exceeded the 3:1 ratio, including Texas, Maine, Rhode Island and Ohio. Ohio and Rhode Island each have one extremely large pile, while Texas and Maine have many large piles throughout their respective states.

The earlier estimates were likely overstated for several reasons, including basic overestimation of pile numbers and size, continued land disposal, and aggressive abatement programs.

Copies of the study can be obtained from the Scrap Tire Management Council, 1400 K Street, NW, Suite 900, Washington D.C., 20005 for $15.

Tire shipments to increase

Domestic shipments of passenger and light truck tires in 1995 are expected to surpass the levels posted in 1994, according to the Tire Market Analysis Committee (TMAC) of the RMA. The committee predicts growth in these markets to continue in 1996 due to the continuing expansion of the overall U.S. economy.

Passenger tire shipments to the original equipment market will reach 58.9 million units in 1995, compared to the 58.5 million shipped in 1994. Replacement shipments of passenger tires are anticipated to rise to 173 million units in 1995, compared to the 170 million unit mark set in 1994. "Based on TMAC's predictions, OE and replacement shipments of passenger tires are expected to increase in 1995, with expectations for long term growth in both the passenger and light truck replacement markets towards the year 2000," said Thomas E. Cole, president of the RMA. TMAC expects the passenger replacement market to continue growing through 1996 due to the increase in passenger tires in light truck applications, the growing popularity of performance and speed-rated tires, and a continuing rise in the miles driven by the American consumer.

Domestic imports of passenger tires in 1995 are expected to reach 46 million units, compared to the 45.6 million units imported in 1995. Exports of passenger tires will be 22 million units in 1995, compared with the 21.2 million units shipped in 1994. TMAC predicts that after peaking in 1996, imports will annually decline through 2000, while exports continually rise over the long term in light of the recent value of the U.S. dollar. If the dollar remains at current levels, further improvement in export shipments is anticipated.

The trends in the light truck tire market tend to be much like those seen in the passenger tire market. Light truck tire shipments in the original equipment market are expected to reach six million units in 1995, compared to the 5.9 million shipped in 1994. Replacement light truck tire shipments in 1995 are anticipated to reach 27.7 million units, a 5% increase over the level achieved in 1994. Longer term trends will follow that of the passenger tire market, with OE peaking in 1996, but replacement demand continuing to rise through 2000.

TMAC expected annual long term growth of light truck tire exports to play a key role in the health of this market. also predicted for passenger tires. While both imports and exports will show increases in 1995, imports will annually decrease after 1995, while exports will steadily grow through the year 2000.

TMAC projected mixed results for the medium and heavy truck tire markets. Medium truck tire shipments to OE manufacturers in 1995 will reach 4.9 million units, compared to the 4.8 million units shipped in 1994. Replacement shipments of medium truck tires in 1995 will stay even with 1994 at 12.2 million units. OE shipments of heavy truck tires will surpass the 94,900 units shipped in 1994, reaching 105,000 units in 1995, while replacement shipments in 1995 will decrease to 251,400 units, down from the 267,000 shipped in 1994.

Hose shipments up

RMA industry statistical reports confirm that 1994 was a positive year for both the automotive and industrial markets of the domestic hose industry.

"The general expansion of the U.S. economy, with particularly strong gains in the domestic automotive industry, was the driving force in the hose industry," Thomas E. Cole, president of the RMA.

The aggregate industry data released on the reports is in the form of an index, with the base year 1991 equal to 100.

Through the first six months of 1994 original equipment automotive hose shipments in North America registered an index of 202, as compared to the 159 posted for the same period in 1993. North American replacement shipments of automotive hose show an index of 201 for the first six months of 1994, as opposed to the 121 shown for the same period in 1993.

The industrial survey tracks shipments by country of origin. Shipments to the U.S. market through nine months of 1994 show an index of 115, compared to the 113 for the full twelve months of 1993. Shipments to Canada and Mexico through nine months of 1994 registered indices of 105 and 153, respectively. Shipments to Canada are down from the 1993 level of 110, whereas shipments to Mexico are up from the previous year's index of 136.

Gains posted in belting

North American shipments (U.S., Canada, Mexico) of automotive and industrial power transmission belting made strong annual gains in 1994 over 1993, according to industry statistical reports from the RMA.

Both reports are based on an index, with the base year 1991 equal to 100. Through the first six months of 1994, North American shipments of original equipment automotive belting posted an index of 133 compared with the 128 recorded for the same period in 1993. Replacement shipments registered an index of 118, down slightly from the index of 120 in 1993. In the industrial belting sector, the first nine months of 1994 placed the index for shipments to the U.S. marketplace at 120, up from the mark of 113 for the same period in 1993. Shipments through nine months in 1994 to Canada and Mexico registered indices of 123 and 126, respectively, a significant improvement over the 1993 levels of 107 for Canada and 117 for Mexico.
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Title Annotation:includes related article on tire shipments
Publication:Rubber World
Date:May 1, 1995
Previous Article:U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
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