Government appears to have finally given up hope of making any money out of a huge stockpile of used tires at the George Town landfill site.
A fifth request for proposals for a private company to get rid of the tires went out Wednesday.
The RFP has one crucial difference from previous efforts, which failed to generate any interest – “nominal bids” will be considered this time.
The revised wording opens up the prospect of bidders taking the tires, essentially for free.
Golf-resort developer Ironwood has previously said it is prepared to shred the tires and use them for fill in its development. But the company, which would generate no profit from the venture, was not interested in paying for them so did not respond to the previous RFP.
Unlike scrap metal, which is routinely sold for disposal, used tires have a comparatively limited resale value.
It is not known exactly how many tires are at the landfill site and previous estimates have varied vastly – from 500,000 to 2 million.
The tires have been labeled a health hazard because of the fumes they can give off during fires – a frequent, recent menace in both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
The new RFP states, “The government of the Cayman Islands invites eligible tenderers to submit a bid for the purchase (including at a nominal price), processing (on-site or off-site at an approved local facility) and removal of all the used tyres accumulated at the Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Landfill sites.”
Bidders have until noon on July 2 to submit their proposals.
Roydell Carter, director of the Department for Environmental Health, was unavailable for comment yesterday. Following the previous failed bid to solicit buyers for the tires, he told the Cayman Compass that changes would have to be made before the new RFP went out.
Industry experts in the U.S. have previously contacted the Compass to warn that government has little chance of finding anyone willing to pay for the tires. John Deckard, who runs a tire recycling firm in the U.S., wrote: “Expecting companies to be interested in the tires for purchase is completely unrealistic. Given the cost of the processing, equipment, labor, retirement funds and other personnel and related costs, it is unrealistic, especially given that they are on an island.
“Tire piles like this are saved by many all over the world and, in 20 years and millions of tires, we have never encountered any tire hoarders that were paid for the tire piles – not once.“