No One Mentioned Planters
It's hard to predict which queries readers will respond to, so we tried not to be surprised as answers poured in for Vincent P. Melvin Jr. He wanted to know what he could do with the unusable tires he is left with after salvaging cars (End of the Road, May 1990, [Article link]). Who knew there were this many uses for an old tire?

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Mr. Melvin's problem is becoming common as landfills, for both economic and environmental reasons, are beginning to refuse tires. The solution? Shredding. Equipment now on the market can shred tires to grades ranging from small chunks to fine powder. A company in the West uses the finer grades in an asphalt mix. Another company uses the powder in highway guardrails.

Mr. Melvin should consider starting his own shredding business, contracting with other salvage yards, garages, and land-fills to dispose of their tires. Or he could look for a shredding company to dispose of his tires.

Gordon Rahn


The Lakeland Agency

Princeton, Ky.

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Preschools in our area have been using shredded tires to mulch playgrounds. They absorb shocks, making the area safer for children.

Kim Blunt


Pyramid Business Forms

Wilmington, Del.

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Here in Santa Rosa, the Oxford Energy Co. can turn old tires into electrical energy. Recycle those babies!

Martin Sussman

Marketing Manager

Cinnamon Designs

Santa Rosa, Calif.

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I read that the actor Dennis Weaver used tires as insulation in his new house in Colorado. Mr. Melvin might want to research that application.

Kirsten Moorehead


Accounting Plus

Fresno, Calif.

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Our company provides equipment to the retread industry. Retreaders will buy the old tires that Mr. Melvin is trying to throw out. The treads are no good to them, but they will often pay up to $4 per casing.

Brian R. Beckett

Export Service Manager

National Group of Companies

Lima, Ohio

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Illinois's Energy and Natural Resources Department publishes a newsletter, and the April issue lists organizations that could help Mr. Melvin with his problem. The National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, for instance, is located at 1250 I Street N.W., Suite 400, Washington D.C. 20005. The state government in Kansas may provide similar local information.

Robyn Michaels

Research Assistant

Center for Urban Economic Development

University of Illinois


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Our company makes a protective collar for trees from the sidewalls of scrap tires. We also take the tread portion, cut it, open it up, and stack about 20 together to make a parking lot bumper. Nathan B. Shimp


Port Industries Inc.

Palmyra, Mo.

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The Indirect Approach
Bruce Houghton runs a booking agency representing recording stars of past decades. But his sales calls to corporations often don't get past the switchboard, and he asked Network for help (Gotta Find Her or Him, May 1990, [Article link]). Readers suggested asking for the meeting planner, the marketing department, even the executive assistant to the CEO. But many proposed other approaches entirely.

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Mr. Houghton should know names, not just titles. He needs to get involved in the meetings and conventions industry. The magazines Successful Meetings and Incentive cover the people who plan corporate events. Professional associations such as Meeting Planners International and the Society of Company Meeting Planners hold functions where he could network. Also, he should cultivate relationships with meeting planning consultants and travel companies, who are often hired by companies to plan events.

Diane Cohn

Mountain View, Calif.

Mr. Houghton could market his services to destination-management companies, which coordinate ground transportation and events for corporations' off-site meetings.

Gerri Rebello

Manager of Customer Programs

Data General Corp.

Westboro, Mass.

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Get in touch with the sales or catering managers of local hotels, resorts, picnic areas, and other places where parties are held. They could tell Mr. Houghton who is planning events for companies using their facilities. I used to be a disc jockey, and I did this all the time.

Martin Johnson

Sales Manager

Lakeshore Curriculum Material

Carson, Calif.

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Evening the Score
In December 1989 the chairman of the New York City chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives wrote us; he said he was "amazed and dismayed" that Network readers with basic business questions didn't first seek counsel from such organizations as SCORE. Several readers answered with examples of SCORE's unhelpfulness, including being told to forget about starting a company. Now another chapter head stands up for SCORE.

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I empathize with the SCORE clients who received the treatment they mention. Such incidents do occur. But we can, and do, help the majority of the people who come to us. Some counselors may be unaware of the difference between counseling and advising. To advise a client not to go into business is not within the proper scope of SCORE's services, and the clients I deal with make their own decisions. However, many clients may be well counseled to forgo dreams of great financial reward in their own business and to remain in a job for which they are probably more suited. Not every individual is qualified for the business community.

Our 12,000 members provide a service at no cost to tens of thousands of small companies. Only three of them wrote to you. It is unfair to leave your readers with the impression that our services are mediocre and without merit. We are currently providing intensive training to our members, evaluating their performance with peers and with the clients they have assisted. We may have problems, but we are aware of them, and we are striving to improve.

Herbert M. Ausderau


SCORE Chapter 45


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House of Clarifications
In March 1990 inventor Manuel Byrge asked for advice on protecting his idea for a new service. A reader, Srikumar S. Rao, suggested that although a service cannot be patented, materials used in supplying the service -- software and manuals, for instance -- may be. Rao also advised Byrne to protect his idea by filing a disclosure document for $10 with the U.S. Patent Office. Two readers wrote in with clarifications.

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Patents protect mechanisms. Mr. Byrge cannot patent software or manuals, because they are not mechanisms but expressions of ideas. However, he may be able to copyright them. A copyright is cheaper than a patent and lasts longer.

Paul Frankenstein


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Mr. Rao is incorrect on two points. The disclosure document program fee is $6, not $10, and the disclosure program does not protect his idea. Under patent law, the person entitled to patent protection is that applicant who can prove the earliest date of conception. The disclosure document program only allows the person a chance to register his or her idea and establish that date of conception.

Bob Gillson


Three Eye Design

Pillager, Minn.

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Mr. Frankenstein and Mr. Gillson are correct. Readers seeking to protect a new mechanism may be interested in the document disclosure program; but while a disclosure document can help establish the date of conception, someone else can win the patent by proving earlier conception. If no patent is filed within two years of the disclosure document, the disclosure is destroyed. n