INDIANAPOLIS-Bruce Jarrett believes he's found a legitimate reason for burying scrap tires. The Indianapolis real estate agent has formed Environmental Products Co. andhopes to form a network of manufacturing sites to turn crumb rubber from discarded tires into burial vaults.
Mr. Jarrett has targeted 10 sites in the U.S. where people are usually buried, not cremated, which would translate into high demand for burial vaults. ``For example, California is 70 percent burial, and the East Coast is 80 percent,'' he said.
Other areas include New York, New England, Flor-ida and the Midwest (Ohio, Indiana and Michigan).
Mr. Jarrett said he wants to set up new manufacturing sites or find existing rubber processors with the extra capacity to make the vaults.
The crumb rubber will be bought from outside firms. ``We expect to work closely with existing crumb rubber producers and the various state agencies involved in cleaning up the scrap tire problem,'' Mr. Jarrett said.
The ``EnViroVault'' is about 32-inches wide, 32-inches tall and 84-inches long, made of panels 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. The insides of the panels have a waffle-style surface for added strength.
Each vault will use about 500 pounds of crumb rubber. ``This will give us the potential to use between 6 million to 7 million pounds of crumb rubber per press each year,'' he said.
Burial vaults go into the ground and contain the casket, protecting it from moisture damage.
Mr. Jarrett said rubber vaults are better overall than the typical concrete ones. ``They are as strong as concrete and more water resistant.''
And even at 500 pounds, Mr. Jarrett's products are lighter than the 1-ton concrete vaults. ``We can beat concrete on weight and shipping,'' he said.
Mr. Jarrett said his company is in the ``early forming stages.'' He hopes to have his first prototype press within a month, but he still needs to set up distribution for the vaults.
``The key for us, as in any start-up, is the marketing and the people that are in the field, day to day, making the sales. We are going to have to sell any recycled product hard, but we also feel that now is the time for us to come to the market. People are becoming more and more environmentally conscious.''