Colorado Loses Funding for Tire Recycling
by Trey Granger (reposted from Earth911.org)
In an effort to balance the state’s budget, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has cut the $4 million funding that would have been used to clean up the largest tire stockpile in the nation, according to The Denver Post.
The program is funded through a $1.50 tax on all new tires sold, which also helps pay for other recycling programs. But because of a $318 million shortfall in the current budget, $2.7 million was eliminated through June 2010 and all cleanups and recycling incentives have been suspended until further notice.
The EPA estimates that 45 percent of all scrap tires are burned for energy. Since the average tire contains 5 gallons of oil, they can generate comparable energy to crude oil or coal.
One of the larger collection facilities in Hudson was recently purchased by Magnum Recycling, which will attempt to convert the stockpile into rubber powder that can be turned into new tires.
This week, the company held a media event with state legislators in attendance to unveil the renovated facility and discuss its plans.
Another site, Colorado Tire Recycling (CTR), recently announced it has partnered to convert its tires into fuel and supply the fuel to Novo Energies Corp. CTR collects more than 12,000 tons of tires each year, but the state generates an estimated 4 to 5 million tires annually.
The fear is that those facilities that relied on state funding will begin stockpiling tires without actually recycling them, since it can cost more to generate crumb rubber from the tires than the current value of the material.
Colorado is not the only state where an environmental program was cut due to budget shortfalls. In Wisconsin, the Clean Sweep program that collected hazardous waste from 40 communities went under in March because its grant was removed. The University of Arizona lost its composting program in August due to state budget cuts as well.