Arkansas Waste Tire Program Under Review

Better tracking, more supervision suggested

Arkansas lawmakers are looking into the state’s waste tire management program including possible improvements such as more oversight and better tracking where tires are recycled or disposed of.

Tire Recycling Equipment

The lawmakers met last month in follow up to a Nov. 18 meeting of the House and Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor committees in which lawmakers requested more information about the waste tire program.

Among lawmakers’ concerns, a recent tire fire at an illegal dump site containing tens of thousands of tires in South Pulaski County, prompted the legislators to ask how to encourage companies to recycle their tires instead of dumping them illegally or in a landfill.

According to news coverage of the meeting, Anne Roberts Brody, a policy analyst with the Southern Legislative Conference, told the committees that Arkansas is the only southern state that doesn’t track tires to the point of disposal. Such tracking or manifest system requires companies to report to the state whether they disposed of tires at a recycling facility or a landfill.

Brody added that tracking tires helps to increase recycling, as do amnesty days for dumped tires and criminal penalties for dumping.

Under Arkansas law, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) administers the state’s waste tire program which is funded through a $2 per tire fee for passenger tires and a $5 per tire fee for truck tires charged on the retail sale of new tires in the state. Tires imported into the state charged an additional fee of $1.00.

No fees are attached to the sale of used tires, motorcycle tires or tires used on agricultural equipment. Typically collection companies and facilities charge for disposed or disposal of these non fee tires.

Lawmakers suggested that it would help if the other types of tires besides passenger and trucks were subject to the environmental fee.

Tire revenues are deposited into a grant fund administered by ADEQ. Funding is allocated to 10 waste tire management districts throughout the state. Each district is managed differently by regional solid waste management boards. The districts implement all aspects of waste tire management – collection, transportation, recycling, disposal and cleanup projects.

Lawmakers questioned whether more centralized control of waste tire districts would be beneficial. Under the current framework, the state can’t withhold funds from a district based on an audit or exercise control over districts’ spending.

Arkansas recycled 61.7 percent, or 21,897.98 tons, of its waste tires in 2014, according to ADEQ. Another 13,595.64 tons — or 38.3 percent — was put into landfills. That’s an improvement from 2013 and 2012 but worse than 2011, 2010 and 2009, according to department reports.

© Scrap Tire News, January 2016