What is the market for scrap tires?
The three largest markets for scrap tires include tire derived fuel (TDF), ground rubber applications/rubberized asphalt, and civil engineering applications.
Tyre Derived Fuel
In 2018, about 43 percent of used tires were consumed as TDF. With appropriate regulation, TDF offers a viable alternative to the use of fossil fuels. Major applications include Portland kilns (46% TDF), pulp and paper (29%), and power company boilers (25%).
Depending on the type of combustion system, tires can be burned in whole or in pieces. Typically, the tire must be reduced in size to accommodate the burner, among other initial treatments. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, burning tires for fuel has the following benefits:
- Tyres produce the same amount of energy as oil and 25% more than coal.
- TDF’s ash residue may contain less heavy metal content than some coal.
- Nitrogen oxide emissions are lower than many coal in the United States, especially when compared to high-sulfur coal.
EPA emphasizes that facilities using TDF should have a plan for tire storage and disposal and the necessary permits for applicable state and federal environmental programs; And comply with all requirements of this License.
Ground Rubber Applications
In 2017, floor rubber applications accounted for 25 percent of used tires. Floor rubber is used to make many products, from asphalt rubber to track materials, synthetic ground materials for sports fields, animal pads, and more.
The largest use of ground rubber is bituminous rubber, which uses about 220 million pounds or 12 million tires annually. The largest users of bituminous rubber are California and Arizona, followed by Florida, and use is expected to grow in other states.
Civil Engineering Application
In 2017, civil engineering applications accounted for another 8 percent of U.S. waste tire production. Such applications can replace other materials such as polystyrene insulation blocks, drainage aggregates or other types of fillers. Important materials for civil engineering applications come from stored tyres, which are often dirtier than used tyres from other sources and can be used for dam filling and landfill projects, the EPA noted.
While tyre recycling has made a huge profit, the industry points out that demand for TDF has declined modestly in recent years, prompting it to continue to develop other markets, such as ground rubber.
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