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Stockpiles - The Other Side of Tire Recycling

There's no glamour in cleaning up stockpiled tires. This is not the stuff that sets a technology developer's heart racing or sends the designer of a slick new rubber product into creative overdrive. 

James Waldron knows this. "We're on the other end of the spectrum," he said. In 1993, his company Tri-Rinse[tm] Inc., an environmental services company based in St. Louis, Missouri, started a tire shredding division with one mobile shredder and focused its efforts on state programs for cleaning up scrap tire stockpiles. "We saw it as a niche - but an important one," Waldron said.

Now six years later the tire stockpile abatement division accounts for 60 percent of the company's business and has helped states like Missouri, Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Kentucky cleanup some of their largest stockpiles.

To date, Tri-Rinse has cleaned up approximately 11,000,000 passenger tire equivalents (PTE's). The majority of the shredded material went to secondary processors who prepare the shreds for tire derived fuel (tdf) markets, or for beneficial use applications in landfill construction or other civil engineering projects. The scrap tire stockpiles are processed in onsite factories, Waldron said. "We bring shredding equipment, heavy equipment to stage the tires, and office/workshop on wheels," he said. "When a scrap tire leaves one of our sites it has already been cut to an appropriate size for beneficial end use or for use as a feedstock for downstream processing," Waldron said.

Tri-Rinse has four mobile shredding systems which include one large Williams Pulverizer rotary shear shredder, two conveyors, one to three power plants and one or two pieces of heavy equipment to stage and load tires. Tri-Rinse also has a fifth shredder - which is stationary and operates at the company's home base in St. Louis.

On average, Tri-Rinse's cleanup operations handle a daily volume of about 9,000 PTE's with one shredder. On large sites, the company will often use two full shredding teams and process and ship an average 16,500 PTE's.

"With our capacities, we can handle the abatement of the larger sites in far less time than many contractors," Waldron said. "It's helped us keep our prices very competitive." Most of the cleanup jobs are awarded through an open bid process, Waldron said. 

Over the years, Waldron and the sales team at Tri-Rinse have learned how to prepare a quality bid - the hard way, by losing a bid. One of the things Waldron learned from the state bidding process was that under the Freedom of Information Act, unsuccessful bidders had access to the successful bid specs once it was awarded. "This has been a real learning process for me," he said.

To remain competitive, the company continually monitors and refines its operations. "We're constantly improving our site set up," Waldron said. "We know how to handle a site cost effectively - but each site is different. You've got to know how to maintain those efficiencies for each situation."

One way is throughput, Waldron said. "We only shred tires once and we shred all sizes of tires so we have to be fast but we also have to produce a good quality primary shred...we've learned to be fast and efficient." The company's largest pile cleanup to date was the King George pile in Virginia which contained 4,500,000 PTE's. Tri-Rinse completed the job in 432 days processing at a rate of 104 tons per day. All of the shredded material was used for alternate daily cover at Virginia landfills.

Recently, Tri-Rinse set up operations at the Fairfax County, VA Solid Waste Transfer Center. Under terms of a one year contract with the county, Tri-Rinse will process "daily flow" tires at the site. According to Waldron, daily flow has been averaging about 200,000 tires per month which are shredded for use as fuel at a county resource recovery facility. The remainder are being used for a drainage layer in landfill cell construction and for daily cover.

The company is bidding on large pile cleanups in Missouri, Indiana and Iowa this summer. For the future Tri-Rinse is looking at the potential for secondary processing.

Project History Tri-Rinse Inc.

Approximately 11 million PTE's cleaned up to date
1995 Tire Processing Statistics
? 18,229 tons shred (1,822,900 PTE's)
? 88.22 tons was the daily average
? 100% benefically reused

1996 Tire Processing Statistices
? 19,980 tons shred (1,998,000 PTE's)
? 104.06 tons was the daily average
? 99.996% beneficially reused and .004% unkown

1997 Tire Processing Statistics
? 38,500 tons shred (3,850,000 PTE's)
? 102.4 tons daily average
? 95.1% benefically reused and 4.9% too contaminated to recycle

1998 Tire Processing Statistics
? 31,910 tons shred (3,191,000 PTE's)
? 91.1 tons daily average
? 98% beneficially reused and 2% too contaminated to recycle


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