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Setting Tires on Fire is “Recycling,” and Other Bad Ideas

Setting Tires on Fire is “Recycling,” and Other Bad Ideas

By Lisa Sharp

I am one of those people who suffers when clean air rules are delayed. I have asthma and live just a couple of miles from a cement plant. The cement plant I live near in Oklahoma is classified as a High Priority Violator of the Clean Air Act and has been for many years.

So last month, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new air pollution standards for cement kilns and industrial boilers, it was good news that the long awaited standards were finally being issued. But the standards have been weakened from the rules earlier proposed by the EPA.

In a press release, the EPA said the new rules will

achieve extensive public health protections by slashing toxic air pollution, including mercury and particle pollution, while at the same [time] addressing feedback provided by industry and labor groups, increasing the rule’s flexibility and dramatically reducing costs.

While the new standards are weaker than many hoped for, the EPA estimates the new standards could prevent 8,100 premature deaths each year. And it will help prevent many heart attacks, asthma attacks and emergency room visits.

One very disappointing outcome is a two or three year delay in imposing a rule on cement plant emissions that would have helped cut mercury emissions by 93 percent, hydrochloric acid by 96 percent and particulate matter by 91 percent.

These delays are not the only victory for the cement industry; the EPA is also finalizing the definition of solid waste. This rule will permit the burning of tires, railroad ties, and plastic bottles. Earthjustice staff attorney James Pew said, “they will be burning waste without controlling pollution.”

The cement plant near me in Oklahoma is one of the plants that is already burning tires. Burning tires is a dirty business that just adds more toxins in our air. The cement industry calls this recycling. An estimated 230,000,000 tires are “recycled” every year in the U.S. and many of those go to plants like the one in my Oklahoma town or one in Dundee, Michigan.

The cement industry says increased regulations will cost jobs, but according the EPA’s estimates, not having more regulations could cost up to 2,500 lives. And countless asthma attacks and other health issues caused by pollution from cement plants.

I’m living proof that we cannot delay in creating air pollution improvements that will protect our families health. Unfortunately, it seems the cement industry believes you can put a price on human lives.

Tell President Obama to give us a clean plan for climate change.

Here are some sources for more information: Washington Post, LA Times, American Lung Association and the EPA.

 

Related Stories:

Success! Levi’s Jeans Will Now Be Free of Toxins

The Foul Legacy of the Tar Sands: Lakes Turned Into Cancer Sites

One Group’s Plight to Rebuild Sustainably After Sandy

 

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Photo credit: Shutterstock

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67 comments

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10:35AM PST on Jan 30, 2013

thanks for sharing

6:14PM PST on Jan 22, 2013

Thanks for the article

7:12AM PST on Jan 22, 2013

Stupid idea......

4:07PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

AAARGH!
We need STRONG LEADERSHIP on change, not burying our heads for the facts and keep a steady pace toward the abyss, like lemmings!

2:49PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

I live in Texas. Our governor decided our state is an ideal nuclear waste storage site.

9:44AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

Woops hit the add comment button too quickly. Piezo dual waving, (40 to 144 kHz + 1.44 gHz) and piezo - resonanted, high pulsed magnetic steam ionisation ionized steam, line, plus heat recapture- generated Browns gas- all get either brown coal. or incinerated wastes to burn much more efficiently with slashed particulate emmisions.
On a cement plant, you get the extra power by "heat recapture"- i.e. heat pick up lines over and around the around the kilns with a co² heat modulator- driving Stirling motor generators to drive industrial scale -Browns gas generation and steaming units- where the steam first goes through a Rankine cycle steam turbine- generating more power... and then "incinerated" via the electrocatalytic ionisation- system- along with the Brown´s gas - and whatever remaining hydro-carbon fuels are being used. Heat recapture systems coupled with industrial grade Brown´s gas generation and magnetic resonance "steam ignition" - vastly improve the incineration of things like urban wastes, or brown coal... and achieves up to 80% more efficiency - while slashing NOx, CO² and particulate emissions. The heat recapture systems are being applied to things such as cement plants, steel amd göass smelting, urban high temperature waste incineration- combined heat power- plants, silicon production, etc.

Peking/Beijing is choking on coal emissions - and its garbage dumps are mountains. So, the project there is to build out massive sewage sludge

6:35AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

duh

6:27AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

Living in "Green Germany"- we "recycle tires"- by cryogenic freezing- with liquid nitrogen and crushing. The material goes into things like "playground" protection mats, insertion mats under subway and streetcar tracks to reduce noise. Or as Kelly noted, it is extensively used mixed in with asphalt. A high level of recycled glass and recycled rubber in asphalt produces a very hard, non-cracking top surface asphalt that is resistant to winter weather- and less prone to cracking. Don´t burn- recycle is true.
However, waste incineration for combined heat power, energy systems is done here. Sewage sludge is captured and put through "paddle methane digesters"- and the gas and sludge are fed to high temperature waste incinceration power plants... burning city trash.And bicycle tires and inner tubes end up in the mix as well. The trick is high temperature waste- with bio-waste gas incineration. We are now experimenting with putting "heat recapture" Stirling motors- on the heat hot water lines- generating large amounts of Brown´s gas-fed into the firing for vastly improved incineration which reduces particulate emissions by about 80% while increasing heat output with the more efficient burn. Another trick on waste incineration are industrial grade piezos- generating loud but inaudible- 80 db - dual wave ultrasonic - pulsed at 40.000 kHz-/microwaved along with a steam line that goes through a dual pulsed 40.000 khz/1.44 gHz -ceramic lined electro-magnetic ionisation

5:00AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

For me car tyres are cheap building material: at the moment they are used in what is called 'Earthships'. We are planning to build an ecovillage here in Scotland and in my landscaping and building design I will use about TEN MILLION car tyres.
120 tyres are hydrolically pressed into a bale of 1500mm long, 1000mm wide and 750mm high. We can get money per tyre to keep them out of the land-fill. This is especially interesting for a young family who at this moment do not stand a change to get on the property ladder -or for anyone else on a low budget.
Last year I was invited to present this idea to a group of PhD students in the Herriott Watt University in Edinburgh, and it was received positively.

Remember, if we want to change something, we have to come up with an idea for a solution to the problem but just pointing a finger and say' that is not right' is not enough!

Anyone who wants to know more about this use of tyre bales can contact me, of course.

5:00AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

For me car tyres are cheap building material: at the moment they are used in what is called 'Earthships'. We are planning to build an ecovillage here in Scotland and in my landscaping and building design I will use about TEN MILLION car tyres.
120 tyres are hydrolically pressed into a bale of 1500mm long, 1000mm wide and 750mm high. We can get money per tyre to keep them out of the land-fill. This is especially interesting for a young family who at this moment do not stand a change to get on the property ladder -or for anyone else on a low budget.
Last year I was invited to present this idea to a group of PhD students in the Herriott Watt University in Edinburgh, and it was received positively.

Remember, if we want to change something, we have to come up with an idea for a solution to the problem but just pointing a finger and say' that is not right' is not enough!

Anyone who wants to know more about this use of tyre bales can contact me, of course.

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