Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District (Fayette SWCD) will hold a scrap tire amnesty collection on Saturday, April 22.
“This will be the third and final collection for our current grant. We conducted similar programs in 2011, 2013, and 2016,” said Chet Murphy, Fayette SWCD director. “The equivalent of over 49,000 passenger car tires have been collected and recycled to date.”
According to the Scrap Tire Management Council, the United States generates more than 260 million scrap tires each year, and total scrap tire inventories are close to 800 million nationally. Scrap tires became a problem when Michelin introduced steel-belted radials after World War II. Those radials are made of natural and synthetic rubbers, which are difficult and expensive to reclaim. This caused tires to become abandoned in warehouses, at dump sites and in landfills for years.
Abandoning and storing scrap tires causes both environmental and health concerns. Disease carrying pests such as rodents may live in tire piles. Mosquitoes can also breed in the stagnant water that collects inside tires. Several varieties of mosquitoes can carry deadly diseases, including the Zika virus and encephalitis. Mosquito control and eradication programs, short of removing tire piles, are difficult.
Fire presents a second concern. Tire fires generally start either as a result of arson or an accident.
When tire stockpiles catch fire, blazes are difficult to extinguish because of trapped air that stokes the fire. Large tire fires have been known to burn for weeks. When tires burn, the rubber decomposes into oil, which not only contaminates the soil, but may drain into ground and surface water.
“All of the scrap tires that we collect are shipped by an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) certified transporter to an Ohio EPA permitted recycler,” said Murphy.
There are a number of uses for recycled tires. The largest use is as ground tire derived chips. These chips are used as an alternative aggregate for gravel or crushed stone in asphalt mixes, subgrade fill and embankments, backfill for wall and bridge abutments, landfill leachate collection systems, and septic system drain fields. Bigger chips, or crumb rubber, are used for landscaping mulch, athletic turf, and playground surface material. Some are used as a feedstock for other rubber products or for new tires. A small percentage are too degraded for any re-use and must be sent to a landfill.
“I strongly encourage Fayette County residents to take advantage of this opportunity. This will be the final collection event for our current funding. No new funding is anticipated for the foreseeable future,” said Murphy.
Most scrap tires will be accepted free of charge. There is a $5 fee for large agricultural type tires. The scrap tire amnesty collection will be held in the Fayette County Fairgrounds parking lot behind the Fayette Agricultural Center. Enter and exit off of Leesburg Avenue.
Only Fayette County residents are eligible to participate. There is a limit of 100 tires per person. Pre-registration is required as the number of tires that the district can accept during this event is limited. Once registered, people will be called about a week in advance and given a drop-off time.
Funding for this program is provided by an Ohio EPA Litter Management Grant and by Fayette SWCD.
Call the Fayette SWCD office at 740-636-0279 for more information or to register.