Stockpiles of scrap tires historically began to be created around the 1960s and 1970s when tires were diverted from landfills but recycling markets for them were not functional. Stockpiles proved to be prone to catastrophic fires which created air and water pollution. Further stockpiles harbor and breed mosquitos that carry diseases, and other disease vectors like vermin. National and state efforts in the 1980s and 1990s began a process to remediate the stockpiles.
Initial estimates in 1990 suggested up to 3 billion scrap tires had accumulated in stockpiles. However, clean-up activities confirmed that the actual total was closer to 1 billion. Since 1990 over 93% of the known illegal or abandoned scrap tire stockpiles have been remediated, and most states have scrap tire programs to discourage the creation of new sites. New sites can be created when processors businesses fail, or as a result of illegal dumping. While there is still much work to do, scrap tire stockpile remediation has to be considered an environmental success story.
At the end of 2015, about 67 million scrap tires remained in stockpiles in the United States, a reduction of over 93 percent since 1990. RMA credits this progress to state efforts to abate stockpiled tires, develop sustainable scrap tire markets and enforce existing scrap tire laws and regulations. The remaining stockpiles are concentrated in nine states: Arkansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. These states contain the vast majority of the scrap tires remaining in stockpiles. Of these states, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington have ongoing abatement programs. Texas has no abatement program and has more stockpiles that any other state, expect Colorado.
Colorado has a new state law to address its 61 Million scrap tire monofills by 2024 and since the monofills are neither abandoned or illegal perhaps they should not even be included in the present stockpile numbers. RMA continues to work with legislators and regulators in these states to develop and implement effective scrap tire programs to address these stockpiles.