Teton County Solid Waste Supervisor Saul Valera removes a metal tire rim using the new tire rim remover purchased through a grant from the Teton Springs Foundation. This new piece of county equipment will aid in the all over diversion of metal waste at the Transfer Station.
It’s wasn’t the sexiest request that Teton Valley Community Recycling had ever submitted for a grant consideration.
In fact, the application to the Teton Springs Foundation was down right dirty business.
A tire rim remover. A piece of equipment made in the USA and sold by Big Boys Garage Toys was about as awkward and clumsy as the pile of old rubber tires that lay wasting and rusting and rotting away at the Teton County Transfer Station.
But Saul Valera could see beyond the dirty exterior of that pile of metal and waste. And when TVCR asked how we could support metal waste diversion at the Transfer Station, the Teton County Solid Waste Supervisor said, “tire rims.”
Consider this: In 2016, Teton County diverted 342.87 tons of metal out the waste stream at a cost savings to Teton County taxpayers of $26,058.12 and an earned revenue of $27,355.60. And just last week, Teton County sold another scrap metal pile for an earned revenue of almost $30K while diverting 225 tons from the landfill. And it’s only August!
A tire rim remover will continue to increase the waste diversion rate while increasing revenue and decreasing costs to Teton County taxpayers by recycling the metal rims. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the purchase of a tire rim remover is a capital need as identified by the Teton County Solid Waste Department and as outlined as a recycling mandate according to the Waste Diversion Plan for Teton County, a plan that Teton Valley Community Recycling helped to produced and the community adopted.
And our wish was made real by the amazing vision and generosity of the Teton Springs Foundation who awarded Teton Valley Community Recycling with a $5,000 grant which we used toward the purchase of the piece of equipment. The Teton County Solid Waste Department come along side of the project and pitched in an additional $1,300.
And this week, the tire rim remover was put to good use as staff chipped away at the pile of tires with metal rims. In only three days, the staff at the Transfer Station removed 1,760 pounds of metal rims from less than a quarter of the tire pile. There’s more to come and we’ll keep you posted on their progress.
Valera said it costs $230 a ton to haul away tires with and without rims. By removing the metal rims, Teton County can also ship more tires per ton at a cost savings to the county.
Additionally, we are recycling the metal rims and selling them to recycling companies for a profit. And all these revenues from recycling are invested back into waste diversion programs at the Transfer Station.
The community as a whole has identified the desire to remove metal from waste stream. By giving the right tools to county staff, we increase the diverted materials and honor the community plan for waste diversion.
The Waste Diversion Report cites: Accepting more materials for recycling provides an alternative to the landfill. Currently, there are markets for thin plastic film, aluminum foil, textiles, and all kinds of scrap metal. Expanding collection options for scrap metal and adding thin plastic film, aluminum foil, and textiles to the list of materials accepted for recycling will increase waste diversion while generating revenue. All of these materials could be sold directly to material recovery facilities, or they could be brokered through neighboring counties that already recycle them. After the materials with known markets are added, the next step is to research the feasibility of some emerging markets such as cartons and shingles. Implementing all five of these recommendations has the potential to increase waste diversion by 26% to 31%, generating $120,000 to $154,000 in economic benefit for the community.
With a sustainable recycling program, our waste diversion rate has increased from less than 13 percent in 2011 to an overall rate of 33.17 percent, and closer to the national average of 35 percent — a benchmark this community has committed to reach by 2020.