LYNNFIELD, Mass.—The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has contracted with GreenMan Technologies of Minnesota to clean up half of Iowa's scrap tires. GreenMan began transporting and shredding 3 million scrap tires in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on July 7. The company, based in Savage, Minn., is a subsidiary of Lynnfield-based GreenMan Technologies Inc.
Tires piled up at the Fort Dodge site between 1988 and 1991 when Midwest Recycling Research Inc.—owned by local entrepreneur Donald Ervin—initiated a now-defunct shredding operation with no end-users or market, said Mel Pins, environmental specialist for the Waste Management Assistance Division, Iowa DNR.
The state sued Mr. Ervin for $1 million. When the money didn't come, Mr. Ervin served 60 days in jail for contempt of court, Mr. Pins said.
This and other instances spurred the state to pass tighter regulations for the processing and storage of scrap tires. In 1996, the Iowa General Assembly established a $15 million waste tire management fund over six years to dispose of the state's 6 million scrap tires. Through 1999, 70 percent of the tires have been cleared and processed, Mr. Pins said.
Iowa will pay GreenMan $73.95 per ton of tires, a $2.2 million deal if the tonnage estimate (30,000 tons) is correct, he said.
Iowa pays less for tire disposal than other states—89 cents or less per tire, compared with $1.25 or more elsewhere, Mr. Pins said.
As part of the Waste Tire Stockpile Abatement Program, the Iowa DNR chose GreenMan over four other bidders based on state criteria for the disposal of scrap tires.
Forty percent of the value of a cleanup proposal concerns price-competitiveness, Mr. Pins said. The rest is based on experience of the firm, its capability—which includes its equipment and manpower—and reliable evidence of end markets.
The tires collected ultimately must have some beneficial, value-added use, he said, such as tire-derived fuel (TDF), civil engineering applications or crumb rubber.
``The purpose (of the project) is to get rid of the tires,'' Mr. Pins said. ``I don't need a solution, I need somebody with a track record.''
GreenMan has cleaned up a total of 700,000 tires for the Iowa DNR in two previous contracts. ``We've been very happy with GreenMan of Minnesota,'' Mr. Pins said.
As for end-user markets, GreenMan will sell most of the shredded tires as TDF to Otter Tail Power Co. in Big Stone City, S.D., as it has been doing for 10 years, said Mark Maust, vice president and general manager of GreenMan Technologies of Minnesota.
The company expects to finish disposing of the tire pile by Sept. 30, 2000, well before the two-year deadline set by the Iowa DNR, Mr. Maust said.
GreenMan's 40,000-sq.-ft. Savage facility can process 80,000 tons per year, Mr. Maust said.
GreenMan Technologies Inc. has a subsidiary in Georgia and another in South Carolina. The company is the second-largest scrap tire recycler in the U.S., and aims to be No. 1, a company spokesman said.