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March 2004

Proposed Tire Marking Legislation Prompts Warning from Tire Makers

Montpelier, VT— Tire makers say that a proposed law to require distinctive marking of tires sold at retail in Vermont is impractical and would provide no benefit to the state’s scrap tire management efforts.

The proposed legislation calls for the marking of tires sold in Vermont to determine and identify tires sold only within the state’s borders. The bill also requires the Agency of Transportation to contract for the collection of scrap tires from solid waste management facilities located throughout the state and for the delivery of shredded scrap tires to the Agency for civil engineering projects.

“Finding a viable method for marking tires is at best questionable,” said John Falardeau, RMA state legislative manager at a Vermont Senate Transportation Committee hearing. “If a marking system were to be created, it could very likely be copied and used to mark out-of-state tires which would defeat the intention of this legislation to mark only tires sold in Vermont. Branding the tire at the manufacturing point would mean the creation of Vermont-only tires and opens up the potential for other states enacting similar customization.” 

The legislation also requires the Agency of Transportation to contract for the collection of scrap tires from solid waste management facilities located throughout the state and for the delivery of shredded scrap tires to the Agency. The Agency would then use the material for road construction and civil engineering projects.  

“This provision raises many technical concerns, such as the impact on the efficiency of a company’s ability to collect and process the tires from these drop-off centers,” Falardeau said. “A collection process as outlined in the bill is laborious, and the relatively small numbers of tires collected will inflate the cost of transporting scrap tires. Thus, scrap tires may remain at these locations for considerably long periods of time.”

RMA noted concern with requirements that regional garages or waste management facilities must accept marked scrap tires at no cost and a mandate that the entity that contracts with the Agency of Transportation to accept and collect marked scrap tires free of charge.

“On the surface, this provision is impractical. It is highly unlikely that any commercial entity will pick up scrap tires without any assurances that they will be paid,” Falardeau said. “Options like the one called for in S. 295 only work where there are large amounts of scrap tires, picked up at regional sites, and where the collector/processor is paid to remove the scrap tires.” 

RMA also voiced concern that the number of scrap tires generated in Vermont each year will not be enough to be effectively employed into projects envisioned in the bill. Vermonters currently generate approximately 600,000 scrap tires each year. This number is about half of the amount needed to effectively employ scrap tires in civil engineering and other related projects.

Some Vermont tires are sent to New York, where a manufacturing plant is seeking permission to use tire derived fuel. Vermont elected officials have raised concerns about the plant’s emissions if it is allowed to use tire derived fuel (TDF). However, emissions at this facility are not expected to be negatively affected by the use of TDF.

Falardeau closed his remarks noting Vermont’s concern with tire derived fuel issues in New York State. “Should S. 295 become law in its current form, Vermont will still not take enough scrap tires out of the supply chain to have an impact on the New York market,” he said. “There simply are not enough tires generated in Vermont to have an effect on activities in New York.”


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