TYLER, TX (KLTV) - From the truck to a pile. Clay Lemmert, the owner of The Tire Barn in Tyler is no stranger to scrap tires.
"You know they are a hazard, and they have to be disposed of right," said Lemmert.
He says he charges his customers a disposal fee of $2.50 per tire. He uses that money to pay a company out of Louisiana to recycle them.
"The recycler comes and picks up the tires in a big truck, usually 400, 500 a time," said Lemmert. "We pay the recycler. He disposers of them and then he turns around and sends us a receipt proving that they were disposed of right."
The TCEQ says scrap tires can be used in many different ways. The largest markets are civil engineering, ground rubber applications or rubberized asphalt, and using the tires as a source for fuel.
"In some of the major metropolitan areas there have been a number of excavations over the years for things like gravel and sand, and a lot of those areas are being reclaimed by using tires that are shredded," said Dale Vodak, a TCEQ environmental investigator. "Not everyone wants to pay a disposal fee."
Instead, Lemmert says many of his customers take their old tires with them. The City of Tyler says it will take them at no cost.
"The City of Tyler picks up to four passenger tires without the rim at your curb," explained Lemmert. "So, if you just put a tire on the curb, and we don't put it in the trash, or the garbage, we come back in a pick up truck and then bring them to this site."
From here, the city says a company out of Dallas picks the tires up and recycles them.
The TCEQ says East Texans and tire shops like the Tire Barn should take responsibility of their tires and know where they are going so they don't end up in piles like the one in Hawkins.
The TCEQ says it oversees the recycling of more than 24 million scrap tires every year. Right now, the TCEQ says it knows of six abandoned tire sites in the state, including the two in Hawkins.