Tires are not desired at landfills, due to their large volumes and 75% void space, which quickly consume valuable space. Tires can trap methane gases, causing them to become buoyant, or bubble to the surface. This ‘bubbling’ effect can damage landfill liners that have been installed to help keep landfill contaminants from polluting local surface and ground water.
There is a possibility for tire fires or the harboring of disease vectors such as mosquitoes. Some are now saying that tires holding rain water raise Zika virus concerns.
Volatile Pricing / Environmental Concerns
Natural rubber prices have increased 250% in last 5 years. Synthetic rubber – SBR (made from petroleum byproducts) have considerably increased and are currently at $1.50 per pound ($3000 per ton).
Price of carbon black, one of the main raw materials for tires, is currently manufactured from oil and its manufacturing costs depends on oil pricing.
Carbon black manufactures in United States and around the world face very strong pressure from government and environmental agencies due to the significant CO2 and other emissions produced during manufacturing. They are being forced to spend a lot of money to reduce emissions. This is causing the price of virgin carbon black to go up and many smaller manufactures that can’t keep up with the regulations are forced to close.
Scrap Tire Landfills
One billion scrap tires are generated every year around the world. Approximately one-third of the scrap tires are generated in North America and the same numbers of scrap tires are generated in Europe. It is estimated that 300 million tires are discarded annually in the United States alone.
At present, only 5% are recycled for high value applications and 10% for low value applications. Hundreds of millions of scrap tires are already stored in landfills. Scrap tires in landfills are breeding grounds for insects and rodents that spread diseases.
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