Tire Recycling Common Practice in 88 Percent of Auto Repair Shops

Bethesda, MD – Sept. 14, 2011 – Today’s auto repair shops do much more than fix cars. They also play a key role in protecting the environment. According to a study by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), 88 percent report they recycle tires.

“Many people aren’t aware of the widespread environmental thinking and practices in auto repair shops in the areas of recycling, disposal and facilities management,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Shops have practiced sustainability for decades, and as a result, they have made huge contributions to a cleaner environment.”

More than 300 million tires are scrapped annually, or about one tire per person in the United States. Approximately 89 percent of the scrap tires generated in the United States by weight are put to new productive use, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Products made from the rubber in scrap tires include mulch, playground material, asphalt, horse arena footing and turf for the athletic industry.

The recycling efforts of auto repair shops help keep tires out of landfills – where they can cause toxic runoff that can contaminate the soil and watershed – and out of tire stockpiles that can create fires, causing land and air pollution and contaminating surface and ground water sources. Stockpiles also are a breeding ground for mosquitoes and rodents that can carry deadly diseases and pose a threat to human health.

In addition to recycling tires, repair shops recycle used engine oil and oil filters, batteries, parts cleaning solvents, scrap metal, plastics, cardboard and paper, dunnage and wood pallets.

The study is part of AAIA’s initiative to illustrate the automotive aftermarket industry’s widespread efforts on behalf of the environment. The information is presented in AAIA’s “Driving Toward a Cleaner Environment: The Automotive Aftermarket’s Green Story,” and in the short videos, AAIA Green and AAIA Green: Tire Recycling. For more information, visit www.aftermarket.org/green.