American-Made Recycled Rubber & Plastic Products.

Recycling Facts and Figures

In 1999, recycling and composting activities prevented about 64 million tons of material from ending up in landfills and incinerators. Today, this country recycles 28 percent of its waste, a rate that has almost doubled during the past 15 years.

While recycling has grown in general, recycling of specific materials has grown even more drastically: 42 percent of all paper, 40 percent of all plastic soft drink bottles, 55 percent of all aluminum beer and soft drink cans, 57 percent of all steel packaging, and 52 percent of all major appliances are now recycled.

Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 1998, 9,000 curbside programs and 12,000 recyclable drop-off centers had sprouted up across the nation. As of 1999, 480 materials recovery facilities have been established to process the collected materials.

It takes seven gallons of crude oil to produce one car tire.
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc., “Rubber Recycling Rolls Along,” May 2000

It takes 3.6 billion gallons of crude oil to produce tires for all of the cars in the U.S. Calculated, considering there were 129,749,000 passenger cars registered in the U.S. in 1997, four tires per car and seven gallons of crude oil per tire.

Synthetic rubber accounts for about 60 percent of the total worldwide consumption of rubber and is derived from oil, whereas the remaining 40 percent is naturally derived from the rubber tree.
International Rubber Study Group, “Rubber in a Nutshell (revised),” 2000

It takes five to eight years for a rubber tree to mature to the girth, at which it can be tapped and its economic life will then be 20 to 30 years. International Rubber Study Group,
Rubber in a Nutshell (revised),” 2000

Each year, motorists in the U.S. generate about 1 scrap tire for every man, woman and child in the country.
Waste News, Jim Johnson,
“An Active Retirement,” April 4, 2002


At the end of 2003, the U.S. generated approximately 290 million scrap tires. Historically, these scrap tires took up space in landfills or provided breeding grounds for mosquitoes and rodents when stockpiled or illegally dumped. Fortunately, markets now exist for 80.4% of these scrap tires—up from 17% in 1990. These markets—both recycling and beneficial use—continue to grow. The remaining scrap tires are still stockpiled or landfilled, however.

Environmental Protection Agency, “Management of Scrap Tires,” Last Updated April, 2005 (Accessed 8/05) There are at least 275 million scrap tires in stockpiles in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
“Management of Scrap Tires,” Last Updated April, 2005 (Accessed 8/05)

The tire industry saw a 2.6 percent growth in 2002 and a slight increase of 0.6 percent over 2002 and 2003. The industry anticipates a growth rate of over 4 percent in 2003.
Environmental Protection Agency, “Profile of the Rubber and Plastic Industry, 2nd Edition,” EPA/310-R-05-003, February 2005

In 2003, close to 45 percent of scrap tires were used for fuel in the U.S. Almost 20 percent were recycled or used in civil engineering projects and almost 8 percent were converted into ground rubber and recycled into products. The remainder were used in rubber-modified asphalt paving material, exported for reuse and other miscellaneous applications.
Environmental Protection Agency, “Management of Scrap Tires, Basic Information” Last Updated April, 2005 (Accessed 8/05)

The use of scrap tires for fuel has increased from 24.5 million tires in 1990 to 115 million tires in 2001. Using ground rubber as an additive to asphalt paving has increased from 3 million tires in 1994 to 12 million tires in 2001.
Environmental Protection Agency,
“Profile of the Rubber and Plastic Industry, 2nd Edition,” EPA/310-R-05-003, February 2005


About 27 million scrap tires (9.3% of the total) are estimated to be disposed of in landfills in the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency,
“Management of Scrap Tires, Basic Information” Last Updated April, 2005 (Accessed 8/05)


In 2001, 38 states banned the landfilling of whole tires, and 11 states banned all scrap tires from landfills. In addition, 33 states charged a minimal scrap tire fee to consumers who were replacing used tires with new tires.
Resource Recycling, “Scrap tires pave the way
,” Serji Amirkhanian, September 2004; Source: Rubber Manufacturing Association, 2003

Scrap tires pose three environmental threats:
1. they are an extremely difficult to extinguish fire hazard
2. they trap rainwater which can breed mosquitoes that spread diseases
3. they are bulky, virtually indestructible hazards that often work their way back up to the surface of landfills after burial.

Environmental Protection Agency, “Profile of the Rubber and Plastic Industry, 2nd Edition,” EPA/310-R-05-003, February 2005 In 2001, it was estimated that the United States generated approximately 300 million scrap tires. Approximately 80 percent of these tires were recycled, reused, or recovered for fuel. This represents a 50 percent increase of scrap tire use since 1994, and more than a seven-fold increase since 1990.
Environmental Protection Agency, “Profile of the Rubber and Plastic Industry, 2nd Edition,” EPA/310-R-05-003, February 2005

Basic Scrap Tire Info from the US EPA Website

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