In March, Liberty Tire Recycling, a Pittsburgh-based provider of tire recycling services, partnered with the Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research at Georgia State University’s Institute of Public Health and ECO-Action, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization, to collect and reclaim thousands of abandoned tires. The three organizations staged a large-scale community tire round-up event on Saturday, March 10.
Nearly 100 volunteers from the three groups rolled up their sleeves to collect the tires. Liberty Tire provided trucks to pick up tires from a host of collection sites across the city.
Following these efforts, more than 3,500 tires that were illegally dumped throughout Atlanta were collected for recycling and taken to Liberty Tire’s facility there.
“We are proud to have collected more than two times the amount of tires that we were anticipating,” said Dewey Grantham Jr., regional manager for Liberty Tire Recycling. “We are pleased to be able to do our part to collect and reclaim these tires and to improve the quality of life in our Atlanta communities.”
According to Grantham, abandoned scrap tire piles have become a serious problem for communities in and around the city of Atlanta over the past several years. Unlicensed tire collection companies are collecting scrap tires from a variety of retailers and then illegally dumping the tires in yards and wooded areas. A recent reduction in funding for a statewide scrap tire management program has exacerbated the problem, prompting the need for tire collection drives like this one.
“Beyond being an eyesore, illegal tire dumps can pose serious problems for the entire community,” said Grantham. “Large tire piles can generate chemical runoffs to surface and ground water, which is a concern for everyone. The tire piles are also a haven for pests and mosquitoes. Moreover, they can also pose a serious fire hazard, because extinguishing a tire fire is no small task.”
Liberty Tire recycles more than 140 million tires annually. The scrap tires are shredded and ground into various sizes of powders, crumbs and nuggets for use in a variety of products.
Much of the material produced by the company is used as crumb rubber and industrial feedstock for manufacturers, as tire-derived fuel for use in industry or as rubber mulch in landscaping and playground applications.
Grantham noted that products made from recycled rubber have enormous potential, because they are often higher-performing products than those already on the market. For example, rubber-modified asphalt has proven to be safer and longer lasting than traditional asphalt, and is being adopted by departments of transportation across the country that are charged with resurfacing and maintaining thousands of miles of roadway.
In addition, rubber mulch outperforms wood mulch in a variety of ways. It is non-allergenic, non-toxic and harmless to plants, pets and children. Plus, rubber mulch is clean, minimizes airborne dust and particles, and does not splinter like wood mulch. It is also provides safety advantages over wood mulch, especially in playground applications. A six-inch layer of rubber mulch will cushion a child’s fall from as high as 16 feet, providing up to 50 percent more fall-height protection than wood mulch using half of the material.
Recycling rubber keeps millions of scrap tires out of landfills each year, making the entire process a true green alternative.
Jeffrey Kendall is CEO of Liberty Tire Recycling, headquartered in Pittsburgh. The company maintains a nationwide network of processing plants, and comprehensive door-to-door collection services. For more information, please visit www.libertytire.com.