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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Landscaping using crumb rubber mulch

Division of Waste Management
Recycling and Local Assistance Branch

Crumb Rubber
Grants available to promote recycled waste tires for landscaping
Deadline to apply March 28
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2016) — The Energy and Environment Cabinet is accepting grant proposals for projects that promote the use of recycled waste tires for landscaping. Grant funds may be used to purchase crumb rubber mulch for landscaping projects.
Grant funding comes from the Waste Tire Trust Fund, an endowment established in 1998 by the Kentucky General Assembly to receive fees collected from new tire sales. The applicant will provide match-funding equal to at least 25 percent of the project cost.
To a limited degree, the cabinet will also consider funding research and development proposals for experimental practices or technologies that further the statutory purposes of the waste tire program—to protect human health, safety and the environment—or that will help develop a market for Kentucky waste tires.
Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on March 28 at the Division of Waste Management’s central office in Frankfort. The application and any supporting documentation must be submitted in order for the application to be considered. Applications can be mailed to Lisa Evans, Division of Waste Management, 200 Fair Oaks Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601.
For more information call Lisa Evans at (502) 564-6716 or e-mail
Changes to Crumb Rubber Grant Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016
The Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) is redirecting future funds used in the crumb rubber grant program. Kentucky has an annual inventory of 4 million tires through the sale of new tires as well as imports from other states. The crumb rubber program is funded through a statutory tire fee levied on the purchase of each new tire in Kentucky.
The use of crumb rubber on athletic fields and school playgrounds has been shown to help reduce injuries and reduce maintenance cost. However, there are no large-scale, national studies on the possible health issues associated with inhalation, ingestion or contact to the skin for those who use these fields and playgrounds for recreational purposes. Out of an abundance of caution, the EEC has made the decision to redirect crumb rubber grant allocations to other uses rather than continue funding applicants wishing to use crumb rubber on playgrounds and athletic fields. 
During FY 2015, the EEC will make available grants for crumb rubber for use in landscaping projects. Also, the cabinet will utilize funding from the program to assist local governments in retrieving tire piles, and for providing direct grant dollars to counties to manage waste tires. 
Also, the EEC is currently building a framework for a program to use rubberized asphalt material for chip and seal road maintenance projects. The agency plans to offer grant opportunities to counties for chip and seal programs in FY 2016. 
With regards to playgrounds and athletic fields that currently contain crumb rubber, there is no conclusive evidence that crumb rubber surfacing for playgrounds or athletic fields is unsafe for recreational users. Research to date has been inconclusive, contradictory or limited in scope. The cabinet supports a national study to measure any possible impacts of recreational use of crumb rubber surfacing.