Loss of state funding threatens Colorado tire cleanup | VailDaily.com

Loss of state funding threatens Colorado tire cleanup

Michael Booth
The Denver Post
Kathryn Scott Osler | The Denver Post

SEDALIA – Rick Welle’s tire shredder whines under a bright sun, chipping slowly away at mounds of 80,000 discarded tires tucked among the sandy hills along Santa Fe Drive.

But no matter how valiantly the shredder’s $8,000 blades churn on, the piles of unwanted tires are growing higher once again.

Gov. Bill Ritter took the only tire cleanup fund in Colorado in August to help clean up the state’s ravaged budget, one of many minor accounts absorbed into the general fund.

Before then, the state fund paid partial reimbursements to Welle’s Front Range Tire Recycle, Geocycle and other companies to turn old tires into all sort of other uses – building retaining walls and fueling a cement kiln, to name two.

Without the cash infusion to defray costs, Welle can’t market the scrap for a competitive price, and his inventory of whole tires will resume climbing.

Welle recently watched an employee squeeze 1,800 pounds of whole tires into a crusher that churns out bales for fencing and road work.

“That tire bale,” Welle said, “is not worth what I just paid him to make it.”

Problem is, Colorado already has more thrown-away tires accumulated than any other state, according to waste experts.

For more of this Denver Post story: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_13647715

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