Building A Green Transportation Culture

Scrap tire processing is the latest addition to Prime Inc.’s Go Green transportation initiative

When it comes to environmental sustainability practices, Missouri-based trucking company Prime Inc.’s mission to “use its resources and abilities to protect the environment” is much more than an idea or concept. It’s one of 13 core values that define the company and drive its growth.

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With 8,000 drivers on the road, Prime, along with other large transportation companies, is a major player in sustainability initiatives and continues to look for ways to make Prime greener.

The company launched its newest sustainability initiative EcoShred in mid-2019. As part of this initiative, Prime repurposes scrap tires generated in-house through its EcoTire retread division.

Under the program, while 35,000-40,000 tires are repurposed and put back on the road, about 20 percent of all the worn tires the company generates are not suitable for retreading.

Prime generates about 1,600 tons of scrap tires annually, EcoShred Manager Mike Jones said.

EcoShred was an idea brought about by Jones, who at the time was a member of Prime’s accounting department and Sam Messich another Prime accountant. The pair collaborated for more than two years, studying the numbers of tires discarded and planning a way to recycle the tires that were too far gone to qualify for the retreading program.

Prime selected tire shredding equipment and systems manufactured by ECO Green Equipment, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The EcoShred system, configured in collaboration with EcoGreen includes shredders, grinders and coloring equipment installed in a facility at Prime’s Springfield, Missouri headquarters complex.

Billboard for EcoShred Rubber MulchThe company converts dual truck and super single tires in a multi-stage process designed by ECO Green equipment that includes a primary shredder which reduces the tires to a 2-to-6 inch rubber chip. The secondary grinder further reduces the chip to ¾ inch minus nugget and removes steel from the rubber. The EcoGreen colorizer line features ten custom colors which EcoShred uses to paint the rubber.

The machinery allows Prime to repurpose its scrap tires to produce a variety of rubber products including tire derived fuel, tire derived aggregate, mulch, pellets and powdered rubber, Jones said.

One of the first ways, Jones repurposed the mulch product produced at the EcoShred tire shredding plant was to replace the traditional mulch used around buildings, and public areas in Prime, Inc.’s headquarters complex and the company’s other properties.

“It’s pretty amazing that a trucking company does this,” Clayton Brown, head of marketing at Prime said. “We really try to make a difference with our sustainability practices.” Recently, when representatives from the Department of Natural Resources visited, they were impressed with the plant’s capabilities and the use of EcoShred mulch throughout the property, Brown said.

The EcoShred operation is just one part of Prime’s commitment to sustainability. In addition to retreading and returning eligible tires to the road through the EcoTire division, used oil from the trucks is recycled and some is used to heat Prime’s shops. Prime’s trucks are custom designed to be more aerodynamic and lighter and more spacious to hold more cargo and to ensure they’re operating more efficiently while conserving fuel and energy. These efforts and more keep Prime’s carbon footprint low enough that it’s been designated a SmartWay Carrier by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Not only is that important to us but it’s a big deal to a lot of our shipping customers,” Brown said. “It’s apparent that environmental sustainability is very important to many of our customers.”

While the EcoShred facility has only been operational since mid-2019, mulch rubber byproducts have been sold for commercial uses already, Mike Jones said. Eventually the mulch will be available for purchase by smaller scale clients like homeowners, he said.

Source: Prime Inc.

© Scrap Tire News, November 2020