ISRI Releases Study On Tire Fiber Recycling

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) released a study that looks at the viability of markets for fiber materials recovered in the tire recycling process. ISRI introduced findings from the study during its annual Convention and Exposition last month in Vancuver, B.C.

The study conducted by CalRecovery, Inc. discusses the state of the market for recycled tire fibers – polyester, nylon, and other types of fibers – and the barriers to marketing the material. One key finding of the study is that users or potential users of recycled tire fiber lack a standard set of specifications or applicable industry consensus standards.

“For years, tire recyclers have looked for innovative ways to find markets for the byproducts of the tire recycling process,” ISRI President Robin Wiener said about the study. “As an example, recovered steel is now being sent to steel mills,” she said.

“Unfortunately, tire fiber has been a bigger challenge, and there have been a number of barriers along the way. This study provides concrete information on where the industry stands today in terms of production and value. Now that tire recyclers know and understand the current state of the market, they can systematically develop opportunities to market this high quality fiber, Ms. Weiner said.

The study estimates that about 87,000 tons of polyethylene terephlalate (PET) and 7,700 tons of polyamide (PA) would be produced annually if all recycled rubber tires were processed for crumb rubber recycling and 100 percent of all PET and PA fiber was recaptured.

Tire fiber is an important material used in the construction of vehicle tires to impart strength and durability to the tire, ISRI said. The fiber becomes a byproduct when tires at the end of their life are processed, and the recovered rubber and steel are recycled. Tire fiber is manufactured from high-quality polymer materials such as polyester, polyamide (nylon), and other types of resins.

ISRI’s Tire Division will use the information from the study to develop scrap specifications for tire fiber, according to Robin Wiener. This will include determining the level of purity of tire fiber and other characteristics to turn it into a valuable feedstock, she said.

Barriers to marketing tire fiber indentified in the study, include lack of information related to the characteristics of tire fibers, type and concentration of contaminants, and a marketplace generally unfamiliar with tire fibers and their potential to compete with and serve as raw materials for various manufacturing industries.

© Scrap Tire News, May 2015