Recycling advocates hope the high-profile recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires will make people more aware of tire disposal issues and give a boost to recycling efforts. In 1999, 66 percent of the 273 million scrap tires in the U.S. were recycled, up from only 11 percent in 1990. They are used to help make everything from cement, asphalt, and landfill covers to garden hoses, exercise mats, and playground covers. Many tires are also burned to produce energy. Still, millions of tires are simply piled up each year in massive waste heaps, where they are prone to catch fire and cause serious pollution problems.