Delaware produces over 750,000 scrap tires a year. How to keep them from fouling the environment is a serious consideration. Disposing of them without further environmental harm, such as air pollution from burning, is still another problem to contend with.
Since 2002 the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has worked toward eliminating the state’s scrap tire piles, and the Division of Air and Waste Management’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Branch now has a program for the cleanup of tire piles in existence before June 30, 2006 and comprising more than 100 tires. Many smaller tire piles are located on private land in rural areas. There also are scrap tire piles scattered throughout Delaware that DNREC doesn’t yet know about.
Scrap tire piles present a number of environmental, health, and safety hazards to our communities. They are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. A tire fire started by arson or a lightning strike could take days, even weeks, to extinguish because burning rubber is extremely difficult to extinguish. The smoke from a tire fire contains hazardous gases and the oily liquid runoff from the melted tires can pollute ground water.
Reusing or recycling tires keeps them out of landfills. Old or used tires can be shredded or turned into crumbs to be reused in additives to asphalt for roads and playgrounds. Pulverized tire chips can become rubber flooring for equestrian and dog training centers. The shredded rubber can also be burned at very high temperatures for energy sources with reduced air pollution.
How can you help decrease the number of scrap tires? Proper maintenance of your tires – rotation, inflation, balance and alignment – affect the rates at which your tires wear and can extend tire life by about 15 percent. Such care saves you money and also decreases scrap tire generation by the same percentage. Higher-mileage tires also reduce scrap tire generation by as much as 50 percent, or half of the tires that might make their way into piles. But vehicle owners also should know that when tires are worn and being replaced, you should dispose of them properly or leave them with the retailer when purchasing new tires.
Are you the owner of a scrap tire pile with more than 100 tires and which was in existence before June 30, 2006? State funds are now available to help defray the cost of cleanup and disposal for owners. Please call DNREC’s Scrap Tire Control and Cleanup Program at (302) 739-9403 or (800) 662-8802 to let us know where your tire pile is located so that we can work with you to properly dispose of the scrap tires.
Recycled scrap tires in Delaware are crushed and shredded to become flooring for equestrian arenas and playgrounds.
If you are a tire retailer with questions about the Scrap Tire Control and Cleanup Program, please contact the Delaware Department of Revenue at http://revenue.delaware.gov/services/Business_Tax/tire.shtml or (302) 577-8778.
Additional Scrap Tire Information: