The fundamental principal of DEQ’s 1994 Waste Tire Management Plan was to develop an infrastructure to handle the annual generation of approximately 7 million waste tires each year. The system would have to consist of a network of waste tire haulers, processors and end users capable of handing almost 80,000 tons of these waste materials each years. In 1994, only two tire recyclers and two end users existed in Virginia, handling only a fraction of all waste tires generated. A coordinated, industry-led, state-assisted effort was needed to achieve the plan’s goals. Once these systems were in place, Virginia would then have the processing capability to address the millions of tires in piles.
Regional Waste Tire Management Programs
DEQ started this infrastructure development by coordinating the start-up of 16 Regional Waste Tire Programs, each offering identical services. The purpose was to provide all Virginia waste tire generators (businesses and individuals) a nearby, reasonably priced drop off site for waste tires that would insure that they will be properly handled and beneficially used. The services centered around each localities’ disposal area(s) and consisted the following services:
- A competitively procured waste tire recycling service at each locality's landfill or transfer station, with service open to the public
- Clean up of any tires accumulated at each site
- Small payments for requiring the use of Waste Tire Certificated for all incoming tires
- Encouraging tire haulers to “register” with DEQ
- Separation of tires mixed with solid waste at "green box" sites or transfer stations.
- Amnesty events where individuals may drop off waste tires for free.
The programs were two years in length and all costs associated with these services were paid from the Waste Tire Trust Fund to the regional entity performing the work (usually a planning district or regional solid waste authority). Though all of these two year programs are now complete, their benefits continue to accrue:
- all landfills retain their collection sites, with the tires being recycled;
- all landfills continue to use waste tire certifications, acknowledging registered tire haulers and using Virginia tire processors;
- several local governments continue to provide amnesty events at their expense; and,
- many programs continue to separate tires hidden in the garbage.
These services help create the following infrastructure:
||Publically Supported Collections Sites
||Amnesty Events; 592,974 Tires Collected
||Registered Tires Haulers
||Landfill Piles Cleaned Up; 1,559,615 Tires Processed
||Programs Separating Waste Stream Tires; 746,343 Tires Recovered
Current Flow Management Infrastructure Development
These program’s long-term benefits cannot be underestimated and are largely responsible (when coupled with DEQ’s End User Reimbursement Program) with the extensive infrastucture and high tire recycling rate experienced in Virginia today.
A. Waste Tire Generators
Virginia’s 2,800 locations that sell new tires (and pay the recycling fee), the 900 auto salvage opertions and hundreds of industrial and off-the-road (OTR) scrap tire generators are the starting point for tracking Virginia tires using the DEQ Waste Tire Certification (WTC) - see forms . This 5-part carbon-less form allow each entity handling the waste tire (generator, hauler or/and collection point, processor and end user) to document the flow of their waste tires. WTC user really “caught on” during the Regional Programs. Today, DEQ distributes 50,000 WTCs to these parties and almost every waste tire is now tracked.
B. Waste Tire Haulers
Waste tire generators (dealers or individuals) may haul their own tires or use the services of a tire hauler to deliver tires to a collection point or directly to a processor. During the Regional Program, DEQ instituted a registration system for such haulers. With the hauler providing a copy of a local business license and having a legitimate destination for their tires and no compliance issues, DEQ would issue them a DEQ Registration. Currently (See Tire Haulers), there are approximately 70 haulers registered with DEQ. Waste tire generators prefer such haulers whose registrations must be renewed each year.
C. Waste Tire Processors
When the Regional Programs began, there were only 2 tire processors in Virginia; at the conclusion, there were 9, mostly enticed by the contracts under this program and the End User Reimbursement System. Currently, 10 in-state and 5 out-of-state processors handle Virginia’s waste tire stream.
All processors in Virginia utilize tire shredders (costing $100,000 up to $ 1 million) to reduce tires to “chips” (generally 2” X 2”) for beneficial end users such as tire-derived fuel (TDF) or civil engineering application (CE). Some chips are sent to crumb rubber plants (costing approximately $5 million) to be reduced to power rubber for recycled products.
D. End Users
Processors are generally not able to use their shredded materials, so it is sold to “end users” for the various TDF, CE or crumb rubber applications. See End User Reimbursement Program for more details.
Starting A Tire Recycling Business
Almost daily, DEQ staff gets a call from individuals who want to start a tire hauling or a tire recycling business. DEQ staff can provide basic information on such enterprises. However, DEQ strongly urges each caller to explore the information on this website and to consult with trade groups before proceeding. Good sources of information are:
Becoming a Scrap Tire Hauler: To begin as a hauler, apply for a local business license, secure a licensed dropoff location or processor and then apply to DEQ using the Waste Tire Program Hauler Registration form.
Becoming a Scrap Tire Processor: To become a processor, the first step is to determine the type of processing operation, the processing location, and the market for the resulting material. Then, contact your local DEQ Regional Office on the permitting requirements.
Of particular interest to potential processors is an RMA publication entitled Considerations for Starting a Scrap Tire Company: A Blueprint for Planning a Business Strategy. This publication can be reached directly at https://www.rma.org, then click on publications for a listing.
It may be useful to contact existing tire haulers or processors to discuss possibilities of partnering before making significant capital investments.