Background, Problems, Alternatives & Legislation:

Background

The U.S. generates approximately 300 million scrap tires each year, with Illinois generating more than 12 million tires annually - the equivalent of one tire per person in the State.  According to the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), markets exist for approximately 85% of scrap tires, such as tire derived fuel, civil engineering applications, and crumb rubber products.  In Illinois whole tires have been banned from landfills since 1992.  SInce then, the Illinois EPA has cleaned up more than 10 million scrap tires that were improperly discarded.  Every year the Illinois EPA conducts more than 100 scrap tire clean-ups throughout the state. 

Problems

  • Discarded tires can serve as habitats for disease-carrying vectors, such as mosquitoes and rodents;
  • Tires that are illegally burned contaminate the air, water and land; and
  • Tires that are illegally stockpiled retain heat, making them prone to spontaneous combustion

Alternatives to Disposal

According to the Illinois EPA scrap tires can be used in road base, running tracks, playgrounds, horse arenas and tired derived fuel (TDF) that is blended with coal to produce electricity.

Legislation

To view existing product stewardship in the U.S., visit the Product Stewardship Institute's Map of EPR laws.