Reynolds says there is a big advantage to putting used tires, bottles and cans to use.
“The process of recycling has become such an industry that it’s polluting more than just throwing this stuff on the ground,” Reynolds says. “Our thing is more gather and use. It’s low-tech, but there’s no shipping or carbon footprint.”
Sourcing the materials locally, to reduce transportation costs, is even better, Reynolds says. He said an agreement with the county could serve as a model for other communities looking to reduce waste-related expenses while promoting sustainable building.
In constructing Earthships, crews use sledgehammers to ram dirt into used tires, which are stacked in staggered rows to form walls. Reynolds says it takes between 500 and 1,000 tires to build the average-size Earthship. The earth-rammed tires provide thermal mass, which keeps indoor temperatures steady and essentially eliminate the need for heating or cooling.
A draft of the contract says the county would deliver to Reynolds as many 30-yard bins (about 1,000 tires each) as are filled at the county’s waste transfer stations. Reynolds said his crew would sort the tires to find the ones that can be used for building, and the reject tires (those that are the wrong size or too worn) would be put back in the bin to be hauled away.
Under the one-year contract, Earthship Biotecture would pay $200 to cover the expected costs of labor, fuel and equipment to the county. The contract could be extended each year with the approval of both parties.
“It’s better for everybody all the way around, and I’m hoping some red tape doesn’t stop it,” Reynolds says.
Deputy Taos County Manager Richard Bellis says the county was still trying to find the right way to adopt the contract without violating the state’s anti-donation clause.
A few acres at the Earthship community have been designated as a “sustainable building test site” — a place for experimental building techniques to be tested and, possibly, adopted into standard building codes. Bellis says the designation could allow the county to legally deliver used tires that would otherwise be thrown away.
“We support it,” Bellis says. “We just need to find the right language.”
Claudio Martínez, who oversees the Taos Regional Landfill, says tires delivered to the landfill are now baled and used to build sound-proof berms around the facility.
Over the last eight months, Martínez says the landfill has collected, on average, 4.5 tons of tires per month. “That’s a lot of tires,” Martínez says.
Tires delivered by Taos County make up only a part of that figure.
from the taosnews.com