BLOUNT COUNTY – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced a grant of $160,000 for Blount County from the state’s Tire Environmental Act Program.

Blount County will provide matching funds of $40,000 and use the grant toward a pilot road construction project that utilizes an innovative asphalt mix technology in the production of rubber-modified asphalt. The project costs $200,000 and has the potential improve the long-term performance of county roads and reduce road maintenance costs.

“We are seeing great advances in repurposing tires for environmental benefits, and this grant for Blount County is a great example,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young. ”Programs like this not only help clean up sites of used tires, they involve innovative new use for them. We congratulate Blount County on this pilot project.”

Blount County’s pilot will cover a two-mile section of highway that will incorporate approximately 2,400 processed scrap tires into the asphalt mix. The county is hopeful that the project will serve as a tire recycling model for other Tennessee counties.

The purpose of the Tire Environmental Act Program is to select and fund projects that best result in beneficial uses for waste tires. Projects must qualify for one of three categories: tire processing/recycling, tire-derived material use, or research and development. The program provides grant funding to eligible entities, including local governments, non-profit organizations, higher education institutions, K-12 schools, and for-profit businesses.

Tennessee established the Tire Environmental Fund in 2015. Upon the first retail sale of a new motor vehicle to be titled and registered in Tennessee, a flat fee based on the number of a vehicle’s wheels is assessed. The fee goes into the fund, which is used for projects creating or supporting beneficial end uses for waste tires.

Since 2015, grantees have been awarded almost $6.8 million, and approximately 5.5 million tires or nearly 58,000 tons of scrap tires have been diverted from landfills. The tires are repurposed for use in rubberized asphalt, tire-derived aggregate, tire-derived fuel, granulated rubber porous flexible pavement, and other beneficial end uses that result in tires being diverted from landfill for a higher and better use. 

For more information on the Tire Environmental Act Program, please visit this link.