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Scrap Tire Recycling Conference Advances Tire Manufacturers’ Goal that 100% of Scrap Tires Enter Sustainable End-Use Markets


WASHINGTON (December 4, 2019) – During its eighth Scrap Tire Recycling Conference, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) issued a nationwide call to action to grow and develop new sustainable, circular end-use markets for scrap tires. Conference co-sponsors USTMA, Michelin North America, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Scrap Tire Research and Education Foundation (STREF) joined more than 200 conference attendees to identify and promote solutions for economically viable and environmentally sound uses for scrap tires.

“South Carolina is proud to host this year’s Scrap Tire Recycling Conference,” said South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “We are benefitting from a robust scrap tire sustainability plan and look forward to sharing our experiences with other state representatives and industry leaders during the conference. South Carolina is home to more tire manufacturing facilities than any state in the country, and we recognize the significance of developing sustainable end-use markets for scrap tires.”

Approximately 250 million scrap tires are discarded in the United States each year. Of these, roughly 81% are reused or recycled into other uses like rubber-modified asphalt, tire-derived fuel, molded and extruded automotive products, micronized rubber powder and reclaimed carbon black, creating beneficial end-use markets.

“If South Carolina can be a national leader in tire production and exports, it also can be a national leader in the sustainable management of scrap tires,” said Rick Toomey, director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. “DHEC remains committed to working with stakeholders at all levels, including the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, to become that leader.”

Tire manufacturers, auto manufacturers, recyclers, retailers, and environmental regulators from across the country explored emerging trends in the circular economy including challenges and opportunities for new and existing markets for scrap tires. Stakeholders also discussed the importance of robust state scrap tire programs and the enforcement of scrap tire regulations, and the outlook for emerging markets such as pyrolysis and devulcanization. Innovative markets like pyrolysis and devulcanization help to advance the circular economy by converting scrap tires into raw materials which can then be used to manufacture new tires and rubber and plastic products. 

“We have come a long way, but we have more work to do,” said Anne Forristall Luke, president and CEO of USTMA. “Building effective partnerships, talking about important issues, and driving effective solutions is our charge. In less than 30 years, we’ve grown the portion of scrap tires entering end-use markets from 11% to 81%. To reach our goal of 100% scrap tires entering sustainable end-use markets, we need to continue to work with our state, industry and academic partners to grow existing markets and develop new ones.”

“Sustainability is at the heart of Michelin’s global business ambition to give people everywhere a better way forward,” said Joanie Martin, chief administrative officer at Michelin North America, based in Greenville. “Michelin’s sustainable development plan was launched more than 18 years ago. Michelin has defined an ambitious target: By 2048, Michelin tires will be produced with 80 percent sustainable materials and 100 percent of Michelin tires will be recycled. We can only achieve the goal with an open and good-faith exchange with stakeholders across the mobility value chain.”

STREF is a non-profit research foundation established to support basic and applied research and appropriate educational activities on issues relating to the sound handling and utilization of waste or scrap tires.

The Scrap Tire Recycling Conference will be held in South Carolina, home to 11 tire manufacturing plants.

For more information on the Tire Recycling Conference, visit



About the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S. Our 12 member companies operate 56 tire-related manufacturing facilities in 17 states and generate over $27 billion in annual sales. We directly support more than a quarter million U.S. jobs – totaling almost $20 billion in wages. USTMA advances a sustainable tire manufacturing industry through thought leadership and a commitment to science‐based public policy advocacy. Our member company tires make mobility possible. USTMA members are committed to continuous improvement of the performance of our products, worker and consumer safety and environmental stewardship.

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