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Old tires make new roads

July 31, 2008 | 11:00 am

Tires1

Those tires on your wheels may end up on your roads, thanks to a more than $325,000 effort to divert 21,000 waste tires from California landfills and use them to create rubberized asphalt concrete, according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

The waste board awarded the money last week to El Cerrito up north in Contra Costa County and Baldwin Park.

Rubberized asphalt concrete is made by blending rubber from recycled waste tires with asphalt and uses about 2,000 waste tires for ever lane mile paved. Not only does it cut down in noise, but it resists cracking, retains its original color and can save up to $50,000 per lane mile compared with the standard 4-inch thick layer of regular asphalt.

So far the waste board has provided more than $25 million in such grants to find new uses for the roughly 42 million waste tires generated each year in California. About 75% are recycled, but roughly 10 million tires remain and are often found in landfills or illegal stockpiles. These surplus tires can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes, rodents and other pests, according to the board. They also can pose a high fire risk, and these fires are not only hard to put out but they also create heavy smoke and toxic runoff.

Money for these grants come from the $1.75 recycling fee charged on each new tire sold in California. The waste board receives $1 for each tire, and the rest of the money is used for tire-related air emission programs.

-- Tami Abdollah

Photo: Michael Conroy / Associated Press

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