Iowa gets high marks for its handling of used motor vehicle tires. A study by the nation’s leading representative of tire manufacturers finds Iowa is tops in several categories. Michael Blumenthal, vice president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association, released a state-by-state breakdown this week.
In Iowa, Blumenthal says, “all the tires are collected, processed and sent to end use markets.” Most of the old tires are ground up and used for playground cover, mulch or synthetic turf.
“Some tires are being used as fuel, what’s called tire-derived fuel,” Blumenthal says. “It’s used in any combustion operation that uses coal. It’s a high-grade fuel chip. It has greater heating value than coal. Emissions are actually cleaner than coal, more consistent than coal.”
Iowa also scores high on the report in terms of having no -new- stockpiling of tires. Millions of tires were taken from stockpiles over the past 15 years statewide and recycled, but the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says as many as 30 stockpiles remain, holding a total of 300,000 tires. The state program that was eliminating them has been discontinued, but no new stockpiles are being created. Blumenthal says tire piles can be set on fire through arson or accident, while becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes and rats.
Overall, though, he says the state’s doing very well with finding uses for old tires. “It’s not just good fortune, it’s good management,” Blumenthal says. “At one point in time, Iowa did have a good number of tires in stockpiles but in the last ten years, the state has had a very good abatement program for the piles of tires that you did have.”
The report says Iowa generates about 53-thousand tons of scrap tires every year. For more information, visit the Rubber Manufacturers Assocation website at: “www.rma.org“.