LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — A specialized company in Lebanon will be able to recycle more tires thanks to a large state grant.
Rockwood Sustainable Solutions just received a $750,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
"Our main focus is the hard-to-handle waste streams that the state deals with," said Lincoln Young, president of Rockwood Sustainable Solutions.
The tire side of their business is Tennessee Tire Recycling (TTR). Mostly, the business hauls tires from local county recycling facilities and does the initial grind.
With the grant, the company hopes to speed the whole process up. It plans to put the money toward a new truck, trailers for collection and a mobile grinder.
"What we're wanting to have is a process that when the tires come in, they're processed immediately and can move out into the next step of the recycling journey," Young said.
Processing involves taking a full, round tire and shredding it. The next step involves taking the ground tires somewhere else to be broken down further. Then, they're hauled back to Rockwood Sustainable Solutions to be sold. It may seem like a lot of back and forth, but this is currently the most efficient way to get a tire recycled in Tennessee.
"They're not made to just dissolve, and when you put a tire in a landfill it stays in a landfill for hundreds of years. We're trying to come up with a solution that helps with tires because they've been a big problem in the state for years," Young said.
Their recycled tire parts are used by home builders, landscapers and the materials can also be turned into porous paving.
The grant money comes out of the Tire Environmental Fund which was established in 2015. Money goes into that fund every time a brand new car is purchased. Over the years, grantees have been awarded almost $4.5 million, and approximately 3.6 million tires — or nearly 42,476 tons of scrap tires — have been diverted from landfills.