A major expansion operation is underway on Bobtail Road just north of Ponoka for Cutting Edge Tire Recycling. The company has just purchased a large rubber mulch plant that can handle large mining tires.
“We can pull from the gold mines or the Alberta oil sands,” said Bill Hunter, CEO of CleanGen, the company that owns Cutting Edge.
The company first moved to Ponoka County in 2007 and leased 12 acres of land at the time. In an effort to add continuity and stability to the business, the company has just purchased 30 acres to provide room for expansion.
Hunter says with the added rubber mulch plant, they intend to hire six new employees, which will add to the current workforce of 10. The plant was purchased from a company in the United States and is currently being transported to its new location. Hunter hopes to have things ready in May for the new mode of operation to go ahead.
“There aren’t many people who deal with giant mining tires,” he explained.
Hunter says Cutting Edge has enough stock of mining rubber that could take up to three years to process and they have secured a market and a broker.
“What the mulch plant is going to do is create a rubber mulch that’s used in landscaping,” said Hunter.
He said there is a growing demand for the rubber in the southwest United States. The rubber mulch is used to prevent weed and grass growth in gardens.
“There’s also a potentially huge market in Canada and that’s something we’re going after,” he added.
Hunter says the mining tires have approximately 90 per cent rubber, which can be used in a variety of products. Tires used on pickups, cars and even tractors have approximately 40 to 45 per cent rubber, he explained.
He is looking forward to recycling the large inventory of tires on their property and Hunter does not anticipate any deliveries for some time. Normal transport and delivery of their passenger tires for recycling will continue. “We want to be a good neighbour in good standing.”
Ponoka County assistant CAO Tom Webber feels the expansion will be a benefit to the community. He said the only issue with storing tires is if they catch on fire, but the service Cutting Edge is doing is a positive thing for the environment. “They’re being processed and reused.”
He said Cutting Edge provided the county with rubber mulch to be used in the Bluffton Landfill. This was offered free of charge to help the county with environmental regulations.