SACRAMENTO, Calif.-The second phase of legislation targeting the illegal disposal of scrap tires in California took effect Jan. 1, bearing the distinct imprint of the state's tire dealers and retreaders. The bill, which had been co-sponsored by the California Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association-North and -South, created a statewide permit and manifest system to regulate tire haulers and, in the process, protect dealers from eventually having to help pay for the cleanup of illegally dumped waste tires.
The first part of the legislation, enacted in 1989, set up a procedure to issue permits to waste tire storage facilities. It includes exclusions for various operations, such as retreading, which constantly process tires rather than store them on a longterm basis.
The statute regulating haulers was enacted two years ago.
Despite efforts to enforce the statutes, piles of illegally dumped tires still mysteriously show up periodically on vacant lots and by roadsides. That scenario has been played out at least a half-dozen times in as many months, lamented Michael Keffer, associate waste management specialist with the state's Integrated Waste Management Board in Sacramento.
Still, he said the legislation has been relatively successful, regardless of some griping by tire dealers, retreaders and others that they're ``over-regulated'' and that the law ``costs them more money.''
Eventually, he believes, the statutes will help ameliorate the state's scrap tire problems.
To, in essence, close the ``cradle-to-grave'' scrap tire loop, all waste tire transporters must now:
Register with the state;
Display a decal on each vehicle used to transport scrap tires;
Carry a registration document; and
Compile a three-part manifest signed by the generator, hauler and disposer of the waste tires.
Thus far, some 300 to 400 haulers have registered. However, Mr. Keffer estimated that since there are ``thousands'' of operations of various sizes in the state, there's been a problem notifying each about the new requirement. The waste management board has already mailed at least 15,000 notification letters to known haulers.
According to California law, tire dealers or retreaders can be held responsible for at least part of the cost to clean up illegally dumped tires, even if they unknowingly pay an unlicensed hauler.
Since the early 1990s, tire dealerships have had to charge at least 25 cents for each tire taken off a customer's vehicle-though most charge more to cover costs. Of the mandated 25 cents, dealers keep 2.5 cents; the remainder goes to the waste management board to administer recycling programs.
Perhaps the weakest link in the new law is its enforcement.
Mr. Keffer acknowledged that law enforcement agencies will have little part in its policing, although the state Highway Patrol can stop a transporter of scrap tires if the hauler's vehicle appears to be unsafe.
``The industry will be enforcing (the law) themselves,'' he said, mainly by disposal facilities and waste generators-like tire dealers and retreaders-making sure they're doing business with registered haulers and reporting those who aren't licensed.
The waste management board also will track scrap tires-from the time they leave a dealership through disposal-via the manifests which, Mr. Keffer said, only registered haulers will receive.
While the majority of the state's waste tires-some 55 percent-still go into landfills or storage facilities, Mr. Keffer said the remainder is being used in various ventures, including cement kilns, an energy generation plant, rubberized asphalt etc.
``Hopefully, as we monitor the movement of waste tires, we'll be able to better grasp where the tires are ending up,'' and prevent illegal disposal, he said.
In conjunction with its scrap tire efforts, the board also has a marketing branch that helps companies become established in recycling. And, similar to so-called ``enterprise zones,'' it has set up ``recycling market development zones'' where existing or start-up recycling businesses have access to low-interest loans and other financial incentives. They also receive assistance in site location and obtaining proper permits.
The board's California Recycling Business Assistance Team-called the ``R-Team''-provides companies with marketing assistance to locate the quality and quantity of recycled feedstock appropriate to their manufacturing process. It also helps firms market their recycled-content products, and works with public and private procurement departments to promote the use of those products.
In the area of technical assistance, the R-Team:
Provides reports from its materials and process information clearinghouse;
Helps companies locate resources to evaluate materials, processes and equipment needed to convert to a secondary material feedstock; and
Helps find resources to test recycled-content products to ensure they meet industry standards.
Businesses interested in assistance can reach the R-Team at (916) 255-1000.