About 290 million scrap tires were generated in 2003, around one tire for every American. There are at least another 275 million scrap tires in stockpiles in the U.S. according to the U.S. EPA. Tires represent 2% of solid waste generated.
Finding a market for scrap tires has been a persistent problem. In 1990 markets existed for only 17% of scrap tires. Today, there are markets for over 80% or 233 million tons. The rest are stockpiled or landfilled. Many states restrict them from landfills, which has encouraged the development of new uses for scrap tires. To date, 30 states collect disposal fees on tires to help fund scrap tire management and market development.
According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, in 2003, 18 million scrap tires were converted into ground rubber and recycled into products, 56 million were used as an alternative to rock in civil engineering projects, and 130 million were used for fuel in cement kilns and pulp and paper mills. The rest were used in rubberized asphalt, exported, or stamped into new products.
To keep your tires out of the waste stream, consider retreading them.