Have you ever wondered what happens to scrap tires? Here’s your answer, illegal tire dumping has been and still is a big problem in the US. In 2003, 233 million illegally dumped tires were gathered all over the US! You must be thinking, “WOW that sure is a lot!” and you’re not wrong! Now we’re left to wonder, what might happen to all 233 million of those tires?
- 130 million were used as fuel
- 56 million were recycled or used in civil engineering projects
- 18 million were converted into ground rubber and recycled into products
- 12 million were converted into ground rubber and used in rubber-modified asphalt
- 9 million were exported
- 6.5 million were recycled into cut/stamped/punched products
- 3 million were used in agricultural and miscellaneous uses
Another 16.5 million scrap tires are retreaded. After any retreading has been performed, 290 million scrap tires are generated. About 27 million scrap tires (9.3%) are estimated to be disposed of in landfills or monofills. (Source: Rubber Manufacturers Association, 2004.) Unfortunately, not everyone knows this information, or what illegal disposal of tires can do to our community which sadly leads to piles upon piles of illegally dumped tires that not only pollute our air but also because tires are prone to heat retention, tires in stockpiles can ignite, creating tire fires that are difficult to extinguish and can burn for months, generating unhealthy smoke and toxic oils. Illegal tire dumping pollutes ravines, woods, deserts, and empty lots.
All of the ways that the 233 million tires were dealt with in 2003, are still actively used to properly dispose of newly found illegally dumped tires. To be apart of this process and help save our community you can take your scrap tires to many different locations! Just a few are Signal Mountain Cement Company, Bowater Inc. (pulp mill), The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Allen Fossil Plant and South Down, Inc. (cement kiln) which all either burn the scrap tires or use them for derived fuel.