New company in Harlingen turns old tires into "cash"

Marta Martinez is the vice president of Texas Recycling and Processing, a tire recycling center in Harlingen.

Martinez has been in the recycling business for 27 years, and said she and her business partners have developed the technology to do more than just shred and bury tires in landfills.

She said tires will be reduced down to dust, crumb rubber, fiber and steel wire.

The project has taken Martinez and her colleagues all over the world and 10 years to perfect. Martinez said there TMs an estimated 3 billion tires dumped along the border from Brownsville to California.

The tires that go to the center, located at the Harlingen Industrial Park, will go through a series of conveyer belts and shredders, which separate the tires TM components down to millimeters.

"What is going to turn into bio-diesel from our plant? Martinez said. It's going to be the dust, the fiber and the crumb rubber. The steel wire, we're going to export it to Mexico to the steel factories (where they will) melt it and make it a finished product."

Martinez said the high tech equipment at the center helps recycle four to five tons of tires every hour, or one tire every three to seven seconds.

With, 32 million tires dumped throughout Texas, Martinez said she hopes the conveyer belts don TMt slow down anytime soon.

"(The tires) are everywhere, Martinez said. They are in the road, you can find them by the pounds, on the highway, I mean everywhere."

Martinez said it cost millions to invest in the center and adds Harlingen was the right place for it because of the access to the ports and airports to export products.

Martinez said the recycling business is sure to benefit everyone.

"The best revenue that we can all have on this project is that we're going to have a clean environment, Martinez said. We're going to clean up the State of Texas, We're going to be able to help students and universities - this is a win-win situation for all of us."

TRP is working to contract with area counties and cities to recycle tires. They will also open to the public on Saturdays. They will charge $1 per passenger tire and $3 per semi-truck tire.