Scrap Tire and Used Oil

In a major victory for TIA, RMA, and the entire tire and automotive aftermarket industry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled that scrap tires can continue to be utilized as an alternative fuel for cement kilns, paper mills, and other power generators.  Had these tires been classified as a solid waste, some 50 million plus tires would have again entered the waste stream.  This was a major victory for tire recyclers and the industry as a whole.

As long as tires removed from vehicles “are collected and managed under the oversight of an established tire collection program they are a non-waste when used as a fuel in combustion units.”

The EPA did hold to its position that off-spec oil is a solid waste with one exception that is important for shops that utilize waste-oil burning space heaters.  Said EPA in the rulemaking, “…we still consider off-spec used oil to be a solid waste, as off-spec used oil contains contaminants at levels that are not comparable to those in traditional fuels.” Under the existing used oil regulations promulgated under RCRA, off-spec used oil can be used only in limited devices, including small oil-fired space heaters provided the burner meets the provisions of the Act.

Unfortunately, we believe that this could create numerous impediments to the recycling of waste oil as we know it.  Who will be responsible for testing collected and stored used oil to see if it is on-spec?  What will a hauler charge to remove used oil that is off-spec. The jury is still out on this ruling.