SACRAMENTO (Feb. 17, 2017) — A revised version of a tire recycling bill that failed before the California legislature last year has been reintroduced.
Unveiled Feb. 13 by Assembly Member Jim Frazier, D-11th District, Assembly Bill 509 would replace the state's current recycling grants program with a Tire Recycling Incentive Program (TRIP) in an effort to raise California's tire recycling rate to 75 percent from the current 37 percent.
It would also establish a new per-tire fee of $1, in addition to the current $1.75 fee, to fund TRIP. "Californians generate more than 44 million waste tires each year, which harms our environment and is a lost opportunity to stimulate the economy," Mr. Frazier said in a news release accompanying his introduction of AB 509.
Californians Against Waste, an environmental and recycling advocacy organization, sponsored both AB 509 and its predecessor, AB 1239. AB 1239 was defeated last Aug. 31 by a 34-34 party-line vote. The bill needed 41 votes to pass.
AB 509 would repeal the Rubberized Pavement Market Development Act, which provides counties and municipalities with grants for rubberized asphalt projects, in favor of TRIP.
TRIP would require the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to make payments to entities that purchase waste tire material for incorporation in end-use products.
Potential recipients of TRIP payments would have to demonstrate to CalRecycle that they purchase waste tire material generated and processed in California, and that they make end-use products eligible for incentive payments.
The bill would require CalRecycle to collect data from payment recipients and publish the information in an annual California Waste Tire Market Report. It would also require the agency to evaluate the program in a public forum and propose changes accordingly.
Industry groups such as the California Tire Dealers Association and the Rubber Manufacturers Association opposed AB 1239.
Not only did they oppose the new tire fee, but they opposed the repeal of the rubberized asphalt grant program and felt the bill's definition of recycling was too restrictive.
However, both the CTDA and the RMA feel a compromise acceptable to all parties is possible with AB 509.
For one thing, AB 509 would require CalRecycle to hold a public hearing on whether the money in the California Tire Recycling Management Fund was sufficient to fund TRIP without enacting the new fee.
"There was $78 million in the fund last year," said Terry Leveille, president of Sacramento-based TL & Associates and legislative representative for the CTDA. "It's unfair to institute a new fee when you have all this money in the fund."
Daniel Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs, agreed.
"We want good accountability for the money," he said. "We want to make sure that CalRecycle is spending its existing money responsibly, rather than imposing a new fee."
For another, both groups see a chance to expand the definitions of recycled products and materials in the new bill.
"What is considered a recycled product?" Mr. Leveille said. "They don't talk about tire retread buffings, which should be included."
Frazier has already shown a willingness to emphasize rubberized asphalt, according to Mr. Leveille. He said he would like to see the California Department of Transportation, which has had long and successful experience in using rubberized asphalt, to be included in the discussions on the bill.
A meeting between stakeholders, to be led by Mr. Frazier, is scheduled for some time in February.
"We hope to come to some sort of agreement," Leveille said. Mr. Zielinski said that the state of negotiations on the new bill are "in much better shape" than last year.
A hearing on AB 509 has been tentatively scheduled for March 16, according to the California Assembly website.