Disposing of large off-the-road tires is becoming increasingly costly and difficult, dealers and retreaders report. ``We're facing a serious problem,'' said Ed Curry, vice president of Shrader's Inc. in Greenville, Ohio, which finds itself overstocked with giant scrap tires.
Disposal costs have skyrocketed, he said, since federal and state governments have begun regulating the collection, storage and disposal of scrap tires.
Costs have doubled in the last six months alone, he said, as more and more landfills refuse to accept even cut-up OTR tires.
Mr. Curry said he used to pay $700 to $800 a trailer load to have such tires hauled away. Figuring 12 tires per trailer, this amounted to a cost of $60 to $70 per ton. Now he's paying $100 to $120-and the end may not be in sight.
``I'm wondering if we won't have trouble in the future even finding people willing to haul them away,'' he said.
John L. Crump, vice president of Big Horn Tire Inc. in Gillette, Wyo., agreed that his biggest problem is getting rid of the 150 giant tires his dealership annually collects-mining tires that can weigh more than 7,500 pounds and measure 12 feet in diameter.
``Nobody close to us is chipping them....There's a huge amount of natural rubber in those tires that's going to waste. It's almost sickening,'' he said.
Some ranchers cut the tops off the scrapped giants, fill the bottoms with concrete and use them as watering troughs for livestock, among other uses. But that only accounts for a few tires, he said.
In recent years, according to Mr. Curry, dealers and retreaders tried to get customers to take back their take-off tires or build the disposal costs into the new-tire purchase price.
However, many customers also are inundated with unwanted tires and insist that the supplier accept them. Sometimes, they're refusing to pay for disposal as well, Mr Curry said.