SAN DIEGO—Inmates in a San Diego prison soon will be teaming up with a tire recycler to make rubber products. The Quantum Group Inc. plans to operate a tire recycling pilot program in the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, said Michael Selsman, a spokesman for the Tustin, Calif.-based company. If successful, the firm plans to spread the program to other prisons in the United States and, eventually, overseas, he said.
``There are prisons all over the world that would love to have these, because it's an environmental problem that no one has been able to tackle before,'' Mr. Selsman said.
The firm is building the tire recycling facility in a 10,000-sq.-ft. warehouse on the state prison grounds, said a prison spokesman. It initially will employ 12 inmates housed in the minimum security portion of the prison, he said. By February 2000, up to 40 minimum security inmates will work at the plant, processing 3,500 tons of scrap tires annually, Mr. Selsman said.
The plant will make rubber mats and flooring, and will use the company's Revulcon process to partially devulcanize the tire rubber, Mr. Selsman said. Tire makers can use the material in new-tire production, he said.
The inmates will earn minimum wage. The state deducts 40 percent of their earnings to defray the costs of their housing and to fund the San Diego Crime Victims Fund.
``With the addition of the Quantum Group's recycling program, we expect this year's donation to increase considerably,'' said Bob Marinaccio of the San Diego Crime Victim's Fund.