Michigan Scrap Tire Program study finds opportunities in new markets

Michigan News

MICHIGAN, (WJMN) – Michigan is considered a national leader for how it handles scrap tires, now there is new guidance on how the state can use scrap tires.

The 2020 Scrap Tire Market Development Study, funded by a fiscal year 2019 Scrap Tire Market Development Grant  to Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) identified three parts to a market development strategy for the Michigan Scrap Tire Program. A scrap tire market study report, identifying best management practices for scrap tire recycling and producing a Midwest directory of scrap tire businesses.

“In our state, 10 million tires are generated every year. That translates to one tire per person in Michigan,” said Kirsten Clemens, Scrap Tire Coordinator, Materials Management Division, (MMD) at EGLE. “Transforming scrap tires into an asphalt additive is a gamechanger in the recycling industry.”

As part of the study, RRS conducted more than 25 interviews with industry leaders in the scrap tire industry.

Study findings indicate tire derived fuel markets are decreasing, and the state must look at new markets. To address this, RRS made nine recommendations, including increasing the use of rubber-modified asphalt and strengthening industry relationships to build a high-impact “circular tire economy collaborative.”

“Michigan is poised to transition the scrap tire industry from managing waste to creating economic value,” Clemens said.

The Michigan Scrap Tire Program continues to work on many market development ideas. It also has partnered on a grant developed for the U.S. Department of Energy’s ReMade Institute, and written by Michigan Technological University, to use the existing supply of waste tire rubber asphalt to build roads.

In addition to rubber-modified asphalt and rubberized chip seal, other ideas showing development potential include the use of tire-derived aggregate and porous pavement.

Since 2018, MMD has awarded scrap tire grants to 21 communities for projects, such as paving, scrap tire violation enforcement and equipment acquisition (e.g., tire shredders).

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