skip to main content skip to main navigation
Jim Sandelier didn’t invent the 2-inch tire chip, but he’s the one who turned a good idea into a growing business that now is helping the environment and reducing construction expenses.

Sandelier, CEO of Common Ground Recycling, connected with inventor Neal Cramer about two years ago, thanks to Frank Keith, Executive Director of the Rutgers-Camden Business Incubator. Sandelier helped structure the company, brought in needed financial expertise and established an office in the business incubator.

Photo of a septic system construction site“The incubator facility is extremely helpful,” Sandelier said. “No where else offers this kind of a deal for office space -- with a month-to-month agreement including T1 access, a printer and other office equipment. If you’re trying to get a business started, an incubator like this one is the best way to go”

Sandelier’s company has been recognized for its promising new technology, receiving $250,000 as winner of the Jumpstart NJ Angel Network competition from among businesses in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Common Ground also recently received a $250,000 recoverable grant through the Springboard II Fund, administered by the Commission and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Common Ground has found success using patented technology to recycle used passenger and light-truck tires into clean-cut, 2-inch square chips. This process eliminates problems caused by tire shredders that produce tire pieces with sharp wires. Common Ground chips are the ideal size and shape for civil engineering projects such as drainage fields, landfill linings and septic systems, Sandelier said.

Recently, Common Ground donated 30 tons of chips to build a septic system at the home of a Mount Laurel woman facing eviction from her home. The woman, recovering from surgery for ovarian cancer, could not afford to replace her failing septic system. But days before Christmas, Dave Neugent of Neugent Construction in Tabernacle, installed a new system using Common Ground chips instead of stone. Dave supplied the labor and coordinated the donation of materials and services from eight different companies.

Using Common Ground chips saves wear-and-tear on equipment and avoids the lateral pressure created by piles of stones. “The fact our chips are cheaper and easier to work with (than stone) is helping the local tire chip market open up,” Sandelier said.

New Jersey installs about 10,000 septic systems each year and each system uses about 2,500 tires, Sandelier said. That’s roughly 17 million tires – more than New Jersey produces each year. And that’s good news for Common Ground.

“Our technology can prevent tire piles from ever coming back,” Sandelier said.