ericwi

How not to recycle used tires...

ericwi
July 22, 2005

As you all know by now, we are having a large fire at a tire recycling facility located near Watertown, Wisconsin. The plume of black smoke can be seen from outer space, and today I saw an image taken by a camera in Madison, and the plume was clearly visible. An estimated one million tires were in the pile that caught fire on Tuesday, 7-19-05.

From 1988 to 1997, the Wisconsin Waste Tire Removal & Recovery Program was in force, and providing government subsidies to tire recyclers. During that period, most of the used tires were shredded and burned, to supply electricity. But the program was temporary, and the subsidy disappeared in 1997. Tires are accumulating once again.

Crumb rubber from used tires is claimed to produce a superior asphalt paving material, but the roadbuilding industry does not want to make use of crumb rubber when paving roads. I'm not sure why.

The fire is nearly out today, they trucked in some special foam from Georgia, which is mixed with water and spread over the burning tires. I guess it stays in place better than plain water, and prevents air from getting down into the pile and feeding the tires burning below the surface.

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