Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau on Monday announced 44 grants to help Tennessee communities recycle tires and reduce the number going to landfills.
The waste tire recycling grants total more than $3.6 million in fiscal year 2014-15, and the grants are supported from the Solid Waste Management Fund, which receives revenue from a pre-disposal fee on the purchase of new tires.
Tennessee recycles an estimated 55,000 tons of tires per year, diverting waste tires from landfills and sending them to beneficial end-use facilities. Beneficial end-use methods include utilizing tire-derived aggregate in civil engineering projects, crumb rubber for asphalt paving and molded rubber products. The majority of Tennessee’s waste tires are used as tire-derived fuel.
“The keys to this program’s success are the efforts of our local county and community partners,” Governor Haslam said. “Reducing the number of tires in landfills and redirecting the tires to a better use helps conserve Tennessee’s natural resources for future generations.”
The General Assembly authorized waste tire grants in the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991. The grants assist counties with the collection, processing and transportation of the tires to beneficial end-use facilities. Counties are reimbursed $1 per eligible tire and are required to provide at least one waste tire collection site. Counties may charge an additional fee if the grant is not adequate to cover costs.
The fund is administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation, and $1.25 from the $1.35 pre-disposal fee collected is used to supplement the counties’ costs for waste tire recycling and services.
Tire-derived fuel, or TDF, conserves fossil fuels and provides a waste-to-energy disposal method. The energy value of TDF exceeds the value of other solid fuels such as coal. According to a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, TDF used in a properly designed and maintained combustion device emits fewer pollutants than conventional fossil fuels. In Tennessee, Abitibi Bowater Corporation, Packaging Corporation of America, Cemex Cement, Buzzi Unicem USA, and Gerdau Ameristeel are among those utilizing processed waste tires for fuel or as a source of carbon in their manufacturing process.
“The Solid Waste Management Fund continues to provide support to Tennessee communities and it’s important that local county governments continue to focus on waste reduction as part of their overall waste management plan,” added Commissioner Martineau.
Purchasing longer life tires, rotating and balancing tires every 6,000 miles, and checking air pressure monthly are excellent ways to reduce the number of scrap tires generated in Tennessee and will also save money. For more information on Tennessee’s Waste Tire Program, please visit www.tn.gov/environment/swm/tires. A complete list of the grant awards is available in the attached release.