Local tire cleanup and recycling efforts and the means to fund those projects again topped the news in rubber recycling during 2005.
Virginia, New York, Missouri and Alabama were some states that focused on collecting fees on new tire sales to promote scrap tire abatement. Virginia in particular kicked off 2005 with a $3 million ``Operation Clean Sweep'' program to clean up an estimated 3 million tires in 342 piles.
The program was funded by a $1 tire fee the legislature instituted in 2003, but that fee should revert to 50 cents per tire in 2006.
Alabama continued a new tire program it began late in 2004 of issuing permits for waste tire transporters and processors and collecting a $1 tire fee the legislature passed in 2003. The state said its goal was to attain a 75-percent tire recycling rate for Alabama.
Meanwhile, two tire fires that ignited a few days apart proved to be enough of an incentive for Missouri legislators to reinstitute a 50-cent tire fee, an initiative that died before adjournment in 2004. One of those fires occurred in an abandoned quarry in Polk County, Mo., and involved about 750,000 tires; the other was at a 20,000-tire dump in Ray County, Mo.
The new fee will expire in 2010 and is expected to generate $2.1 million to help fund the cleanup of an estimated 1.5 million stockpiled tires.
The Ohio General Assembly mulled doubling the state's tire fee to $2 per tire, but successful lobbying by the Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association caused the proposal to be dropped from a state budget bill.
The Florida Automotive Trades Association also won a legislative victory after supporting a bill the state later passed that requires all government entities to pay the $1 state tire fee.
New York began a two-year, $18.5 million cleanup of the infamous Fortino site where an estimated 12 million to 15 million tires are stockpiled.
Lynnfield, Mass.-based GreenMan Technologies Inc. struggled in 2005, closing its LaVergne, Tenn., tire procesing plant and assigning its scrap tire collection business back to the firm from which it originally bought those operations-Tennessee Tire Recyclers Inc. The LaVergne closing resulted in a non-cash loss of approximately $918,000.
GreenMan also sold property in Wisconsin and consolidated its Midwest operations at its Savage, Minn., plant in a bid to streamline operations. The tire recycler said it also was hit hard by fuel supply disruptions and higher delivery costs caused by Hurricane Katrina as soaring fuel prices ate away at its bottom line.
Vermont, meanwhile, is seeking to stop International Paper Co. from conducting a tire-derived fuel (TDF) test-burn at its plant in neighboring Ticonderoga, N.Y. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas and an environmental group called People for Less Pollution claim the test-burn will send toxic pollutants across Lake Champlain into Vermont's air.
The state of New York is reviewing whether to give the company a final permit for the TDF trial burn, which if allowed will happen at the end of February.