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Reduce, reuse, recycle: Coffee County Solid Waste helps keep county clean and reduce environmental impact with recycling programs

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 10:14 am

Tires 2

john coffelt

 In addition to operating the county’s 10 convenience centers, Coffee County Solid Rural Waste Department oversees the collection of recyclable materials to help keep hazardous and poor biodegradable items out of landfill facilities.


According to the county, Solid Waste was set up in 1989, two years before the state mandate that required the creation of solid waste authorities.

As part of the act, counties are required to build and maintain convenience centers. The 10 county centers are designated for rural residents only since 1991 with a change in funding from general tax dollars to rural tax dollars.

One of requirements of the Solid Waste program is to collect old tires for recycling.

Solid Waste executive assistant Wannella Ingleburger said that the tires are collected through a state program called Re-Trac.

She said that on July 1 of this year changes with state legislation will set back the county tire program.

“It’s one step forward, two steps back. That’s going to set our tire program back at least five years.”

To fund tire recycling in Tennessee, Ingleburger said, $1.35 is added to each new tire purchase.

“A dollar twenty-five of that goes to the state to cover the grant program.”

She said that the fee is not charged on used tires, so junkyards and similar businesses are charged for their tire disposal.

County residents, however, are not charged for their first eight tires brought in each year.

For more than eight, the department charges $1 for passenger tires or $3 for commercial truck tires.

The collection is each Thursday.

The center collects about 18-20 tons of tires (or 1400-1500 tires), before they are picked up by Liberty Tire Recyclers.

“Most of the tires are used for tire derived fuel,” Ingleburger said. “Some are used for crumb rubber for asphalt.”

According to Liberty Tire Recycling information, recycled tire products provide energy source alternatives to coal, oil and natural gas for cement kilns, pulp and paper mills, and power plants.

Called in the business TDF, for tire derived fuel, the fuel produces more energy than coal, about 15,000 BTUs per pound, and has lower moisture, sulfur, nitrogen and ash.

Tires are accepted on Thursdays. Inmate labor is used for helping unload the tires. Tullahoma and Manchester cities also bring recovered tires to the center.

In addition to tires, the center accepts both oil and latex paints.

Rural Solid Waste Director Rennie Bell explained that latex paint is a nuance waste rather than a toxic waste, but should not be poured down the drain or into a storm drain. Cans containing wet paint should not be placed in trash. Bell warned that when paint cans are compressed with a compactor or run over by heavy equipment they can violently rupture and spraying paint for several feet onto equipment and personnel.

Solid Waste processes latex paint by bulk drying.

When pant cans are brought in they are sorted. The oil-based paint cans are boxed to send to the state, while the latex paint is bulk dried for disposal in a Class 1 landfill.

The cans are emptied into a rollout container with a layer of 12 inches of mulch to absorb the paint.

“We cover it from one end to the other with paint. Then we put another 12 inches of mulch until we get the box full,” Bell said.

Metal cans are recycled. The recycling center behind the Coffee County Administrative Plaza accepts corrugated cardboard (must be broken down), newspapers, magazines and junk mail, scrap metal and white goods. All of the convenience centers accept recycling items except the Ninth Model Center.

“Cardboard and newsprint we take to the City of Tullahoma to bail it. The glass goes to Strategic Glass in Ashland City, Tenn.

Bell said that there is no monetary reward to recycling glass.

“The only way you can look at it is we’re keeping it out of the landfill.”

The Coffee County convenience centers are open 6 a.m. – 11a.m. and 2 p.m. – 6p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The Coffee County recycling Center is open Wednesdays 3 – 7 p.m. and Saturdays 7:30 – 1:30 p.m.


Why recycle used tires?

Rubber does not break down very quickly. Because of this, landfills are not the optimal ending point for rubber products. Also, tires take up a lot of room in landfills because they are difficult to compact. In fact, most landfills will no longer take whole tires. Some tires are ground up and discarded in landfills reducing the amount of space required in a landfill. However, rubber still takes a long time to break down.

Another problem associated with just throwing tires away is that tires that are disposed of in landfills are a fire hazard. If tire piles catch on fire it is very difficult to extinguish them due to the heat and smoke produced. These fires cause environmental damage.


What is a tire made of?

The Rubber Manufacturers Association lists the typical components found in a tire:

·         Synthetic Rubber

·         Natural Rubber

·         Sulfur and sulfur compounds

·         Silica

·         Phenolic resin

·         Oil: aromatic, naphthenic, paraffinic

·         Fabric: Polyester, Nylon, Etc.

·                Petroleum waxes

·         Pigments: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, etc.

·         Carbon black

·         Fatty acids

·         Inert materials

·         Steel Wire

Give Tires a New Life

Crumb Rubber

Crumb rubber is the rubber that results from a tire when the steel, fibre and other contaminants are removed from a tire and the tire is shredded. In North America, crumb rubber is commonly used as rubber modified asphalt (RMA), playground or landscaping mulch, athletic surfaces, molded products, devulcanized or surface modified rubber, plastic/rubber blends and construction uses.

Tire Derived Fuel

Scrap tires can be used as a fuel source, as they give off as much energy as oil and 25% more energy than coal.  This is calledtire derived fuel (TDF).  The US EPA prefers that we reduce, reuse, or recycle tires before using them for TDF.

For an overview of the tire recycling process and the uses of scrap tires, view the online brochure of the Canadian Association of Tire Recycling Agencies.