Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Reimbursement from state tire grant loses air

Washington County will net even less revenue this year from the state’s waste tire grant because of a change in the payment formula.
The county was receiving $70 per ton for waste tires. Beginning July 1, the payment changed to a flat rate of $1 per tire.
“If they were all car tires, the money would balance out,” said Charles Baines, director of the county’s solid waste department.
Unfortunately, many of the tires come from tractors, construction vehicles, and large trucks that cost more to process.
The Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 requires each county to provide one temporary waste tire collection site for its residents and tire dealers. Whole tires are banned from disposal in all landfills.
Twelve years ago, the state designated Washington County as the hub county for waste tire recycling and disposal, with responsibility for all waste tires from Washington, Unicoi, Carter, Johnson and Sullivan counties.
Washington County contracts with U.S. Tire Recycling, of Concord, N.C., to provide 53-foot trailers for collection. When the trailers are full, U.S. Recycling transports, processes and recycles the tires. The total cost paid to U.S. Recycling is $110 per ton.
Baines said the program sort of broke even from 2002-2009, but has been running a deficit of more than $50,000 for the last three years.
The total available from the tire grant is $300,000, which is paid as the tires are turned over, but enough tires aren’t coming in now to reach the full grant amount.
A total of 2,215 tons of tires were collected during 2011, which resulted in a $58,630 deficit.
Because the price to get rid of them is so high, some dealers are stockpiling the tires.
“Others are giving them to junk dealers, and these are the ones that wind up along our roads that we have to pick up,” Baines said.
A change in the payment formula will only make it more difficult. “(The state) said it would be more accurate, and we argued it wouldn’t,” he added.
Baines said he believes the new schedule will cost each county more, and the difference will come out of the taxpayers’ pocket. “It’s not right for regular citizens to pay for big tire companies to get rid of their tires,” he said.