The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management (DWM) will sponsor a waste tire collection event in Harlan County from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 14, 15 and 16. Residents can drop off unwanted tires free of charge at the state highway garage, located just off U.S. 119 in Dayhoit.
Waste tires are collected and recycled through “beneficial end use” markets to become products such as tire-derived fuel or crumb rubber mulch said Harlan County Solid Waste Supervisor Lakis Mavinidis.
The Waste Tire Program is financed by the Waste Tire Trust Fund, which receives $1 from the sale of every new tire purchased in the state. The fund is dedicated to managing scrap tires and developing sustainable markets for recycled tire products according to the DWM.
More than 22 million scrap tires have been collected during collection events and illegal open dump cleanups since the program began in 1998.
“This program allows you to dispose of any type of tires — truck, car — any tire the wall thickness is less than one and three-quarters of an inch,” said Mavinidis during a recent meeting of the Harlan Fiscal Court. “Also, they will accept tires with rims on them. This is a good program. Four years ago when this program was held there were 11,500 tires collected during the three day event.”
Members of the Harlan Fiscal Court approved a resolution allowing the county to participate in this project stipulating there are no costs to the county to hold this event.
Marvinidis also announced a 20-year anniversary celebration will be held for the Harlan County Recycling Center all day on Aug. 13.
“Just 20 years ago we started the recycling program in Harlan County,” said Mavinidis. “It’s also a celebration of the support we have received from the community, businesses, organizations, educational institutions and government entities. It has grown each year.”
There will be refreshments available and drawings for prizes donated from local businesses throughout the day said Mavinidis. The public is invited to attend.
Magistrate David Kennedy asked the court to consider the possibility of organizing a tire recycling center for the county.
“We originally said we would feed that program with coal severance money. I don’t think there’s a greater need now than this fiscal court looking into that,” said Kennedy. “At one point in time, Lakis, you had us set up to tour a working tire recycling facility.”
Mavinidis said there is one in the state and if the magistrates are still interested he will schedule a date for everyone to visit. All court members present asked Mavinidis to set up a date.
“You can gather the facts, but you have to make sure it’s a benefit not a cost,” said Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop. “There’s a lot of red tape on the environmental side of it. I think markets are being developed for the chips.”
Mavinidis said there are “a lot of trucking of the tires” involved also in this type of venture.
“You have to have a place to dispose of the parts of the tire that are not recycled,” said Mavinidis. “All these things will have to be looked at. I think by going to look at a working site you’ll get a better picture of what is involved — how it works, in this type of business.”
Kennedy said if the county doesn’t have the money to get this type of program up and running, he’d like to contact a company that does have the funds and allow them to start a business of this type in the county.
“What concerns me is that we pay companies to come and take these tires (out of the county) at about $1.25 per tire,” said Kennedy. “Then we turn around and buy this mulch made from the tires we send out at about $600 per ton. This is much more than just recycling tires. We have a potential of getting in on the ground floor of recycling tires and we can grow — go into Tennessee and Virginia and other parts of Kentucky. We could turn around and branch off and start making parking curbs out of this stuff. The uses of this is limitless. That’s something we need to jump on and run with.”
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde