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Going to waste: Georgia-Pacific uses waste tires from Smackover reclamation company.

WHEN YOU TALK TO TERRY Atha about the thousands of tires deposited each year in Arkansas landfills, watch out.

You're opening a can of worms.

Atha is executive vice president of Mid-South Reclamation Industries at Smackover, and he doesn't like to see tires go to waste in landfills.

Only 9,000 tons of Arkansas' annual estimated 25,000 tons of waste tires are used for fuel.

"I've jumped up and down and screamed as loud as I could about that," Atha says. "It's just plain stupidity because we do have markets available for it."

One of those markets is Georgia-Pacific Corp.'s Crossett Paper Operations in Ashley County.

Last week, Georgia-Pacific made a purchase order for 498,000 tires per month for the remainder of 1993.

When the state Department of Pollution Control & Ecology recently began preventing some landfills from accepting whole tires, Mid-South started examining who might be able to use the tires for fuel.

The largest volume users of tires as fuel are cement companies and paper industries. Atha found that Georgia-Pacific is the only company already equipped to burn tires for fuel.

"They'd thought far ahead," Atha says.

Georgia-Pacific has two boilers capable of burning tires.

Traylor Champion, the environmental manager at the Crossett Paper Operations, says one of those boilers is being used to burn the tire chips sold by Mid-South.

It burns 35 pounds of tire chips a minute, or 25 tons a day. When the second boiler is put into use, 72 tons will be burned per day.

Less Costly

The tire chips cost $14 a ton. Wood chips are about the same price, but the heating value from the rubber is three times the value of wood. So the actual cost for tire chips on a heating basis is less.

Despite that, wood chips are still predominantly used for fuel because Georgia-Pacific must comply with air emissions regulations.

Champion says the only drawback in using the tire chips is some residual wire the company must handle from steel-belted tire chips. But more than 85 percent of the metal is removed by Mid-South in the shredding process.

Champion says the company wants to take care of the tires in Arkansas.

"We see it as a big way to help the environment," he says.

So far, Georgia-Pacific has turned down offers from out-of-state reclamation companies selling the tire chips.

Randal Mathis, director of the state Department of Pollution Control & Ecology, applauds the company's efforts.

"This is an immediate solution for a significant number of Arkansas' scrap tires that utilizes an existing infrastructure and is environmentally appropriate," he says.
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Title Annotation:Georgia-Pacific Corp.; Smackover, Arkansas; Mid-South Reclamation Industries
Author:Rengers, Carrie
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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