Expansion-minded tire recycling firm Recovery Technologies Group (RTG) held a grand opening May 28 for one new facility while almost simultaneously announcing plans to open two others.
RTG's tire grinding plant in Moncks Corner, S.C., was unveiled during a ceremony held in conjunction with Ford Motor Co.'s 100th anniversary celebration in South Carolina, according to an RTG spokesman. ``We were the ones who won the contract from Ford to collect the (recalled) Firestone tires, and we've had a close relationship with them since then,'' he said.
The Guttenberg-based firm purchased the 90,000-sq.-ft. Moncks Corner plant for $3.4 million at a bankruptcy auction on March 1, 2002. Formerly called Santee River Rubber L.L.C., the plant was designed to produce 150 million pounds of cryogenically ground rubber annually.
A trial run in July and August 2000 yielded several million pounds of crumb rubber that was snapped up by such buyers as Continental Tire North America Inc.
By the following year, however, Santee River was in bankruptcy, due to higher-than-expected construction costs and other problems. ``They used a little of our cryogenic technology, but they didn't have the tires or the markets available to them to remain viable,'' the RTG spokesman said.
RTG started up at Moncks Corner ``four or five months'' before the grand opening ceremony, he added. The plant currently has about 45 employees and an annual processing capacity of 2.6 million tires.
Meanwhile, RTG also announced it is leasing 40,000 square feet in the City of Albany Empire Zone in Albany, N.Y., to create an advanced-technology tire recycling center there by the end of August, the spokesman said. That facility will employ about 50 and use just-in-time technology to avoid storing tires on the site.
The company also plans to lease 40,000 square feet at the Rotterdam Industrial Park in Rotterdam, N.Y., to open a plant that will make garden mulch out of scrap tires. That facility will employ 23 and also use just-in-time technology, the spokesman said, although he didn't have a start-up date for that site.
RTG already has a presence in New York state, thanks to a 90,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Romulus, N.Y., that stores crumb rubber intended for athletic fields. That facility employs 25.
The tire recycler's connection with Ford paid off big in New York, in that Ford officials brought RTG together with Empire State Development, the state's leading economic development entity. Locating in New York allows RTG to apply for up to $800,000 in grants through the state's Environmental Investment Program. RTG claims to be the largest tire recycler in North America, with 17 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, six of which use the company's proprietary cryogenic technology.
More than 600 RTG employees process more than 40 million scrap tires annually, collected in all 50 states and three Canadian provinces. It markets crumb rubber to a wide variety of industries including asphalt rubber, artificial turf, landscape mulch, children's playgrounds, athletic fields and carpet underlay.