Waste Tires and Plastics Recycling Facility Feasibility Study (Carbon County, Pennsylvania)

Carbon County identified the potential for a recycling complex as part of an economic development program at the Greentech Industrial Center and retained a local consultant and GBB to evaluate the feasibility and implementation needs of a facility that could process waste tires and numbers 3 through 7 plastics for recovery and marketing.

GBB’s role was to guide the study and ensure it addressed all technical, economic, and business elements for the County to reach a decision on the feasibility of such a project and to lay out the development needs and implementation steps with which a private entrepreneur could move forward into the next phase of project development, if the necessary project building blocks were in place to ensure a successful public-private development partnership.

Tire processing focused on multiple shredding, metals recovery and screening for sales as crumb rubber for uses as a plastics extender and/or flowable fill in underground utility trench construction. Attractive markets were identified and tire processing economics were favorable.

The study was completed and found many of the essential building blocks to be present and the potential for a reasonable return to a private developer; however, certain product marketing risks associated with competition for plastics supply in the region, as well as an approaching decline in prices for certain commodities, made the project unattractive for near-term development without some form of subsidy or substantial grant support.