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RE: E-M:/ tires for mulch?



I'm sorry to say that i don't agree with the assessment that shredded tires are innocuous.

The EPA acknowledges that chemicals which leach into the ground (and the combustion emissions) from piles of tires or very serious problems.

But then the EPA also recommends that tire scraps be used for combustion fuel, civil engineering applications (including fill and mulch), and other uses.
The EPA Region 9 recommendations for tire recycling can be found here:
http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/recycle/jtr/docs/r9tirerecommend.pdf
This page has links to a wider variety of resources:
http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/recycle/jtr/comm/rubber.htm


I find these recommendations to be very confusing.
If the leaching of chemicals from piles of tires is bad, then how will shredding the tires into smaller pieces make them more inert?

I would think that by increasing the available exposed surface area of the tires (and by weakening their structural integrity), the leaching of chemicals could become more of a problem.

The only factor which would make this effect less noticeable on a localized scale is the the amount of tires (in the form of scraps) being applied to individual sites. Since a gardener would be applying a small amount of tire material to her/his site, the effect at that site would be small - but if you were to add up all of the leaching from the sites in a region, the amount would become significant (and impossible to regulate).

This solution to the tire situation doens't appear to solve the problem, it only appears to dilute it (by spreading it out over a larger area in smaller amounts) and prolong it (Also, i would suspect that the reason the tires can be used as artificial reef media is that their leaching effect is severly diluted by the massive amounts of ocean water which constantly refresh reefs...and the fact their our drinking water isn't derived from aquifers which are based in seafloor sediments - so we tend to be less concerned with the negative effects).
At least if the tires are in a landfill, they have *half* a chance of being contained. Recyling the old into new tires is probably the method which has the best chance of effectively managing the used tire problem.


ken



--On Friday, February 21, 2003 1:22 PM -0500 Stewart Freeman <freestew@pilot.msu.edu> wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "Stewart Freeman" <freestew@pilot.msu.edu>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> I'm no expert, of course, but I find it hard to believe that a mulch made
> from tires would pose any real threat to the water or soil. Tires are,
> after all, used to build artificial reefs. If you can put a pile of used
> tires into a body of water to provide shelter for aquatic organisms, why
> would using it as a mulch pose a run-off problem? The more interesting
> question would be whether there is a risk of a careless smoker or
> bar-b-quer starting a fire in the mulch. Would the potential air
> pollution be comparable to thick smoke that is so visible in the pictures
> on TV when demonstrators set fire to some old tires? I'll bet that Anne
> Woiwode would not be pleased if the mulch on her neighbor's strawberries
> was afire, sending up great clouds of dense smoke with a heavy smell of
> burning rubber....
> Stew Freeman
>
>
>
> > From owner-enviro-mich-outgoing@glc.org Fri Feb 21 11:50:51 2003
> > From: "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
> > To: "ENVIRO-MICH" <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
> > Subject: RE: E-M:/ tires for mulch?
> > Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 11:53:11 -0600
> >
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > -- Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > --
> >
> > As I recall, one reason putting tires into a landfill is a problem is
> > that the tire "floats" to the top, for some reason that I don't
> > understand. This may actually help in keeping something on top of a
> > gardening area. However, I also recall that one of the components of
> > runoff from streets is basically tire residue, left from tires rubbing
> > onto the road.
> >
> > A non-natural inert material for garden beds seems troubling, however,
> > just as the use of massive amounts of black plastic in landscaping has
> > always troubled me -- what is the fate of the pieces of tire over time?
> > Clearly, the intent is not to collect them after use, so they will
> > persist pretty much indefinitely. When they wash out and into
> > waterways, will they present the same problem that the zillions of
> > plastic things now dotting the landscape present? I would guess that
> > is the case, which makes me question WHY you would want to put them on
> > landscaping?
> >
> > Anne Woiwode
> >
> >
> > What an interesting question.
> >
> > At an MCATS meeting a year ago, a member noted that on her travels
> > south she had run across tire-chips being used as a mulch at state
> > roadside facilities. She said it was highly touted down there (and
> > I've forgotten where that was).
> >
> > At first blush, one would think of tire chips as pretty inert. On the
> > other hand, I have read that huge mountains of tires which get wet are
> > subject to spontaneous combustion. Seems like a compost pile, which
> > suggests a certain aspect of biodegradeable.
> >
> > > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > ---
> > > Enviro-Mich message from "Savoie, Kathryn"
> > <KSavoie@accesscommunity.org>
> > > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > ---
> > >
> > > Has anyone heard of using recycled tires as mulch for landscaping?
> > This is a
> > > totally new one to me, but it is being marketed to our organization as
> > > "environmentally friendly," and I have some concerns. Doesn't this
> > stuff
> > > degrade, however slowly? If so, what are the environmental
> > implications?
> > > I'd appreciate any information on this topic. Thanks.
> > >
> > > Kathryn Savoie, Ph.D.
> > > Environmental Program Director
> > > ACCESS
> > >
> > > NEW ADDRESS & PHONE:
> > > 6450 Maple Street
> > > Dearborn MI 48126
> > > (313) 216-2225
> > > ksavoie@accesscommunity.org <mailto:ksavoie@accesscommunity.org>
> > >
> > >
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