Tire collection aims to help reduce dumping

Published 1:06 am Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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The Bell County (Kentucky) Recycling Center collected old tires from the community as part of its mission to reduce illegal dumping of tires. The Recycling Center collected old tires from residents of Bell County for three days, from April 27-29.

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The collection was part of Kentucky’s Division of Waste Management, offering free waste tire collection events to Kentucky residents. These events occur every three years on a rotating basis for each county.

The Kentucky Division of Waste Management estimates that about 4 million scrap tires are generated annually in Kentucky. Kentucky waste tire statutes ensure responsible waste tire management. The law also establishes management standards for scrap tires to reduce the risk of fire, and prevent water entrapment and mosquito infestations.

“There’s parts of the Levitt stage that are actually made from recycled tires that are melted down and flattened out,” said Jackie Hoskins with the Bell County Recycling Center.

Jenny Carr with the Department of Waste Management described what the tires from Bell County’s collection will be used for.

“These specific tires will go to western Kentucky and they will be turned into mulch,” said Carr. “They have a giant magnet that pulls the metal out of the tires after they shred them, then the shreds can be painted any color, they package them, and they’re sold at [places such as] Lowe’s.”

Carr explained some other processes the Department of Waste Management and uses of recycled rubber.

“There are recycling plants that can turn it into crumb rubber, which can be used for pour in place [rubber], sort of spongy and flat,” Carr said.

“They also do something called rubber modified asphalt. It mixes the rubber with asphalt, and they actually have strips of test areas across the state where they are trying it out.”

Rubber modified asphalt is supposed to be more durable and not as loud as regular pavement.

Carr and Hoskins explained that rubber is fairly heat and water resistant, making it suitable for places like playgrounds and roads

The Department of Waste Management hosts waste tire collection events in every region every spring and fall, and in rotation every three years.