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Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed legislation to address the Rocky Mountain state’s nation-leading waste tire stockpiles.

More than 60 million tires currently sit in 2 mammoth piles, known as monofills, that pose a potential environmental risk should either pile catch fire.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), which has worked for seven years to enact a waste tire measure in Colorado, lauded the action.

“Colorado needs this legislation to end the stockpiling of waste tires, clean up the monofills and help establish new markets for discarded tires,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president.

Nearly 25 years ago, more than 1 billion tires were stockpiled, while only 11 percent of waste tires were consumed in an end use market. Today, only 100 million waste tires are left in piles across the nation and more than 80 percent of annually generated waste tires are sent to an end use market.

“Colorado has taken a critical first step toward eliminating the stigma of having the highest inventory of stockpiled waste tires in the nation,” Blumenthal said.

The bipartisan legislation, championed by Representatives Max Tyler and Don Coram, will eventually shut down and clean up the tire monofills; end an inefficient taxpayer subsidy payment to end users of waste tires; and, cut the state’s tire fee on new tire purchases from $1.50 to $0.55.

“Experience has proven that state waste tire management problems can be solved with enforcement, active cleanup efforts and the expansion of waste tire markets,” Blumenthal said. “By closing the tire monofills and eliminating taxpayer subsidies, Colorado can work toward developing more diverse and higher-value markets for waste tires.”

RMA has led efforts across the country to enact environmentally sound and economically efficient waste tire legislation and regulations. RMA is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S.

Published in the July 2014 Edition of American Recycler News