Old tires baled for new uses
Moffat County bales tires as way of helping recycling effort
July 29, 2001
Tires are fairly limited in their uses. You can put them on your car, maybe use them as a swing, or they can be padding at a racetrack, but that’s pretty much it.
Or so it seems.
This spring, the Moffat County Road and Bridge Department hired in a company to bale used tires. The baled tires will be used as building blocks for erosion-control projects.
The Moffat County Road and Bridge department contracted with Midway Tire Disposal and Recycling of Fountain, Colo., to bale 11,684 regular-sized tires. The tires made 127 bales for a cost of $13,820, one third of what it would have cost to shred the tires. Of those, 110 bales will be used to create an aqueduct that will channel water from a culvert, down a slope off of Moffat County Road 57. The aqueduct will protect the slope from being eroded, which protects the stability of the road.
Tire baling is not a new technique, but this is the first time it has been done in Moffat County.
“We’ve known about it for quite a few years; they’ve been doing it in Baggs for a while, but we just didn’t think the baling process would work,” Moffat County Road and Bridge Department Director Dennis Jones said.
Jones was concerned that the tires would not retain their flat shape if the baling wires were to come loose or erode.
“But one of the guys that do this said to me ‘A tire has no memory you smash them flat, and they’ll stay flat.’ They cut open one of the bales that was two years old and sure enough, they stayed smashed.”
Mesa County has used tire bales for erosion control on landfills, and Moffat County has incorporated that erosion control concept into its movement toward adopting environmentally sound procedures for various departments.
“The County Commissioners, Marianna specifically, have made efforts to move toward recycling and having less landfill use,” Jones said. “Baling these tires is one of the results of that.”
The project is also economically sound, since the cost of purchasing and hauling rock or concrete to use as rip rap is an expensive process and baling is less expensive than shredding the tires.
Midway Tire Disposal and Recycling, located just south of Colorado Springs, bales about two million tires annually, and has been using the process for 10 years.
“Most of the tires are done here, but we do travel to what I call remote baling operations. We average about three or four remote operations a year,” said Brian Wilde, proprietor of Midway Tire Disposal and Recycling. “We were fortunate enough to get the contract with Moffat County.”
Midway Tire travels all over Colorado to fulfill baling contracts.
The supply of used tires is expected to remain steady, keeping the baling process well supplied. The county plans to continue to bale regular-sized tires each year.
“I was told a rule of thumb about used tires there is one tire generated for every person per capita,” Jones said. “We baled over 11,600 tires, which we collected in one year. With the population of Moffat County about 12,000, the rule seems to be prove itself out.”