Kentucky Waste Tire Program

2012 Report logs successes, compiles market growth

Kentucky’s statewide recycling rate remained steady at 80 percent compared to 81 percent for 2011, while the number of tires presented for amnesty cleanup declined, according to the 2012 Waste Tire Program Report. In addition to market and tire pile cleanup information, the Report covers issues that have arisen in 2012 and makes recommendations for improvements to the program.

Tire Recycling Equipment

To jump start the recycling rate in the short-term, the Report recommends the Commonwealth work to increase the in-state tire derived fuel (TDF) market and in the long-term through the diversification of markets. Tdf applications in Kentucky include use in boilers at paper mills, cement kilns and utilities that use whole or processed tires as a supplemental energy source.

Strong TDF Market
Currently about 2.1 million Kentucky-generated PTEs (passenger tire equivalent, i.e. 20 lbs.) are annually used for tdf at three in-state facilities. Owensboro Municipal Utility (OMU) used 362,000 PTEs in 2012 to generate electricity. Under the waste tire program, Kentucky offers fuel users assistance for capital improvements and equipment.

In 2001, Kentucky spent $454.276 on capital equipment to assist OMU in using tdf. The NewPage paper mill located in Ballard County received $750,000 in 2001 to make improvements to its processing infrastructure in order to use 3,750,000 PTEs by 2012. To date, NewPage has used 1,500,000 PTEs and in 2012 requested an extension to the initial deadline to meet the program goal.

Kosmos Cement, a partnership between CEMEX and Lone Star Cement, used 1,295,00 PTEs in 2012. The company uses a unique tire machine, similar to a baseball or softball pitching machine, to toss whole tires into the center of the kiln for a more efficient burning. The reinforcing wire in the tire is incorporated into the clinker.

Air emission testing showed no significant change in emissions from using waste tires and coal as opposed to only coal. In fact, nitrogen oxide emissions, amajor greenhouse gas, were reduced 37 percent when using tdf with coal, the Report said. Kosmos hopes to begin using chips in addition to whole tires to increase its capacity for recovering energy from tires. Including out-of-state use, rubber fuel has increased from approximately 1.1 million PTE per year in 2001 to approximately 3.0 million PTE in 2012.

Steady Crumb Rubber Market
The Kentucky ground rubber market has remained steady over time. Since 2004, The Commonwealth has awarded 315 grants totaling $6.8 million, primarily to schools and municipalities for crumb rubber use on athletic fields to increase turf life and on playgrounds to reduce injuries.

Manufacturing of ground rubber and mulch from Kentucky tires increased from near zero in 1998 to 768,500 PTEs per year in 2012. Liberty Tire (formerly Martin Tire) in Union County manufactures a large quantity of colored mulch for outlets such as Lowes, Home Depot and WalMart. Dalton Tire Recycling in Boyd County produced ground rubber for playground and horse arenas. Porter Tire in Carter County has machinery in-place to produce ground rubber. King Tire Recycling manufactured an intermediate product for playground mulch until a major fire in August 2012 destroyed the plant.

The Report suggests the Commonwealth focus on developing new markets in the state for the use of ground rubber in automotive parts to serve the growing automotive industry in Kentucky. Also, it recommends the Transportation Cabinet explore the use of rubberized asphalt to benefit highway performance and safety and create a high value market for ground tire rubber in the Commonwealth.

Kentucky’s waste tire program is funded by a $1.00 per tire fee on new tire sales in the Commonwealth. The tire fee to have sunset on July 31, 2010 but was extended in 2010 and again in 2012 as part of the budget bill. It is now set to expire on June 30, 2014. Revenues from the tire fee are deposited in the Waste Tire Trust Fund which helps support the continued removal of waste tires through amnesties and grants.

During 2012 , the Energy and Environment Cabinet held amnesties in five counties and a development district. During the first six months of FY 2013 the cabinet conducted tire amnesties in the Bluegrass District.

Together the amnesties netted a total of 1,520,643 PTEs for a cost of $1,623,568. According to the Report, tire amnesties have reduced PTE collections 38 percent allowing the cabinet to move from a four year cycle to a three year cycle for tire amnesties and pass the savings from reduced amnesty costs directly to counties to assist them in addressing waste tires annually.

Since FY 2011, the cabinet has made $3,000 per year available to counties to transport, dispose or recycle waste tires. The counties spent $259,484 to dispose or recycle 252,883 PTEs. Also in FY 2012, the cabinet used Waste tire Fund monies to remediate 56,931 PTEs from four orphan tire piles at a cost of $53,458.

During 2012 the cabinet worked with Simpson County to complete the remediation of a tire processing facility that went bankrupt in the early 1990s leaving a significant amount of tire shreds on the site. The cabinet awarded a grant to Simpson County to remove and properly dispose or recycled the tire shreds. A total of 804,728 PTEs were removed at a cost of $814,483.

Since 2011, a Waste Tire Working Group (WTWG) has been advising and working with the cabinet to identify ways to improve the waste tire program. In 2012, the legislature moved to add members to the WTWG including a county judge/executive, mayor and a retail tire business representative. The WTWG worked with the cabinet in 2012 to develop and update four informational waste tire fact sheets.

© Scrap Tire News, March 2013