SACRAMENTO—The California Assembly has passed a bill creating a new program within the state that creates a 75-percent recycling target for scrap tires.
The bill, Assembly Bill 2908, directs the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to develop an incentive system to make payments to entities that purchase waste tire material to use in making products for end-users.
While the new incentive program will be funded from California's current scrap tire fee of $1.75 on every new tire sold, AB 2908 also allows CalRecycle to charge an extra fee of up to $1 per tire if the state's Tire Fund is depleted.
AB 2908 goes to California Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.
California generates about 44 million scrap tires every year, according to Assemblyman Marc Berman, who sponsored the bill.
"Incentivizing the remanufacturing of used tires into consumer products and pavement materials makes sense for the environment, jobs, public health and our bottom line," Berman said in a press release.
The environmental organization Californians Against Waste backed AB 2908.
"California's tire recycling rate has been far too low for far too long," said Nick Lapis, director of advocacy for Californians Against Waste.
"Providing incentive payments to end-users of recycled materials is among the most cost-effective ways to increase recycling, and it has been proven to work across different material types," Lapis said.
The incentive program replaces California's Rubber Pavement Market Development Act, which provided grants to municipalities for rubberized asphalt road projects.
John Sheerin, director of end-of-life tire programs for the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, said it worked with Berman on the language in AB 2908.
"USTMA supports several provisions in the bill that help grow incentive payments and the collection of data that measures the effectiveness for recycling tires," Sheerin said.
The association also supports a provision in the bill that directs at least 50 percent of incentive payments go to rubberized pavement projects, and the requirement that no additional fees shall be imposed until the Tire Fund is depleted, he said.
However, Terry Leveille, president of Sacramento-based TL & Associates and a consultant to the California Tire Dealers Association, said he plans to write to Gov. Brown urging that he veto AB 2908.
California's Tire Fund currently has about $70 million, so there was no need to enact a provision for an additional fee, even one that is contingent on the fund's depletion, according to Leveille.
"CalReycle needs to show why it needs a huge new tire fee when it can't spend all it collects now," he said.
Leveille also said he is skeptical of the incentive program, which in his opinion is too complicated.
"After following the California tire program for the past 30 years, I suggest that CalRecycle take the Tire Fund surplus and simply increase the current tire grant programs, and spend more marketing the program and the various tire-derived programs," he said.