Tire Troubles: Research from the Recycled Rubber Coalition estimates 12 percent increase in scrap tires with greater EV adoption

Toronto, Ontario — The Recycled Rubber Coalition has released a white paper that estimates a 12 percent increase in scrap tires following the greater adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

The paper, “An Unexpected Electric Vehicle Environmental Problem With Common Sense Solutions,” specifically examines how the rapid adoption of EVs will potentially lead to an increase in scrap tires and provides practical solutions for the recycling and reuse of these tires.

The report notes that “the growing consumer demand for EVs remains one of the most exciting developments in recent years. However, we need to address the reality of the increased scrap tires they produce. While excellent recycling options exist, effective government policies supporting the market expansions of recycled rubber are crucial for enhancing and encouraging industry reuse efforts.”

The report further states that EVs—due to their batteries—are approximately 20 percent heavier than an equivalent gas-powered vehicle. As a result, heavier vehicles, on average, tend to use tires up to 30 percent faster.

Currently, the United States produces approximately 315 million scrap tires per year. With the wide scale adoption of EVs, this number could increase by 12 percent to a total of 352 million scrap tires annually by 2030.

While there are currently technologies to put scrap tires towards reuse, the report also notes that tire production over the past few years has outpaced the potential markets for recycled rubber. As a result, the rate of reuse has been on a steady decline, dropping from 96 percent in 2013 to 71 percent in 2021.

However, the problem is not without solutions. The paper ends by suggesting that additional investment in research and development into scrap tire uses is needed to keep pace with the ever-expanding volume of scrap tires. There are also already many commercially viable applications to increase reuse, and these applications could be expanded upon such as increasing the production of turning tires into rubber-modified asphalt and tire-derived aggregates.

To read the full paper, click here.


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