PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Providence is considering changing a zoning ordinance that would allow rubber recycling and reclamation from scrap tires but with specified restrictions. The zoning change was requested by Global Tire Recycling of Cranston, R.I., which wants to build a $3 million tire-shredding plant in Providence.
``In the past, tire shredding was dirty and hazardous, but this will be an environmentally cleaner, safer process,'' said John Salvagno, co-owner of Global Tire. ``There will be no air or ground emissions and no pollution.''
Under the proposal, Global Tire will use two machines, one to chop the tires or other rubber into 2-inch-square chips, and the other to pulverize those chips into crumbs as large as pebbles or as small as grains of sand.
The plant could recycle almost 1,000 tires per hour, Mr. Salvagno said. City council's Committee on Ordinances held a hearing April 7 to give the public an opportunity to comment on the change that would be necessary to accommodate Global Tire.
``No one opposed it,'' said Rita M. Williams, committee chairwoman. ``There is a need for it and it sounds like the process is non-toxic. There are a lot of tires, and there are not many ways to get rid of them, but the committee needs to learn more about it and where it would be located.''
Mr. Salvagno has not yet revealed his desired location, except that it will be within the city limits.
Zoning in Providence already includes manufacturing in addition to residential, commercial, industrial and open space. Council members are looking at the manufacturing districts in their respective wards to evaluate what is already there.
``It's a matter of getting informed, and we want it to be very specific as to what process would be allowed,'' Ms. Williams said. ``People are concerned.''
Mr. Salvagno did not give details on the process he plans to use in the proposed plant. But he said he has been in business for five years, has researched the process for 10, and has a limited operation elsewhere.
If the plant is approved, Mr. Salvagno expects to start with 25 employees and eventually have 250.
He originally presented his request to Providence's Department of Planning and Development, which then sent it to city council.