Rolling tires out of illegal dumps and melting them into new beneficial uses

Tire Derived Fuel, Playground and Track Surfaces and Recycled Rubber Products

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-317 For Immediate Release: Sept. 9, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and its partners have cleaned up more than 15,400,000 scrap tires in Missouri since the scrap tire cleanup efforts began in 1990. If laid side by side along Interstate 70 from St. Louis to Kansas City, the tires would stack almost 24 feet high.

The state's Scrap Tire Fee, a 50-cent-per-tire fee charged on every new tire purchased in Missouri, enables the Department to fund the cleanups and provide grants and inspection and technical assistance efforts. The Department has spent more than $17 million on tire cleanups and grants since the fee was created in 1990.

"Missouri's program is all about creating end markets for a material that would otherwise end up littering our landscape and contaminating our land and water," said Mark N. Templeton, Director of the Department of Natural Resources. "The scrap tire fund provides the Department with the financial ability to maintain oversight and clean up scrap tires that threaten Missouri's environment and may cause a public health concern."

When recycled properly, scrap tires have other beneficial uses. They can be made into playground surfaces, running tracks and recycled rubber products. To help support those beneficial uses and end markets, the Department uses a portion of the scrap tire fee to provide Scrap Tire Playground Cover and Surfacing grants. Nonprofit organizations, including schools, day care centers, parks and others use the grants for playgrounds, running tracks, walking trails or other surfacing projects approved by the Department. The Department has awarded nearly 300 grants with more than $1.5 million paid to grantees and more than 9,900 tons of tire material used.

To help increase the number of tires reported and cleaned up from smaller sites in Missouri, the Department created the Tire Dump Roundup Program in 2006. Through this program, property owners can apply to have scrap tires cleaned up from their property at no cost. To be eligible, sites must contain between an estimated 500 and 10,000 tires. Active businesses and prior program recipients are not eligible for this program. The Department partners with the Missouri Department of Corrections during these cleanups and converts the illegally dumped tires to tire derived fuel. Using tire derived fuel not only has an economic benefit, but also an environmental benefit, limiting the amount of coal used in these plants.

The Department continues to work with Missouri's solid waste management districts, cities and counties coordinating tire roundups, and encourages and reimburses nonprofit groups in cleaning up dumpsites that contain fewer than 500 tires.

The Department estimates there are a total of 613,000 tires remaining in illegal dumps around the state. Of this amount, more than 313,000 tires are in known dumpsites. The Department receives speculative reports of dumpsites that have totaled approximately 300,000 additional tires per year.

For more information or to sign up for the Tire Dump Roundup Program, contact the Department's Scrap Tire Unit at 800-361-4827 or 573-526-3909 or visit the Web at