Waste management group urges disposal of unwanted tires

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | 6:45 p.m. CDT; updated 5:04 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Lawn ornaments, temporary dwellings for vermin and water resorts for disease-carrying mosquitoes, are not recommended uses for old tires.

The Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District urges tire owners to dispose of unwanted tires from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

If you go

WHAT: Boone County scrap tire collection WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday WHERE: Boone County Fairgrounds, 5212 N. Oakland Gravel Road, Gate 1

The scrap tire collection, which started in 1997, is a way to protect the environment and reduce illegal tire dumping.

“Whole tires are a banned item in landfills,” said Cindy Jolly of the Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District.

Jim Little, a worker at the Columbia Sanitary Landfill, said cutting up tires for landfill disposal is a difficult process that requires a saw.

“They have to be cut into halves or thirds,” Little said. “Most of them we get from tire shops. They have tire-cutting machines.”

“A lot of rural people keep their tires, and (the tires) cause a problem because they don’t disappear,” said Peggy Gorden of Alternative Fuel Source Inc., which is responsible for collecting tires at the fairground.

Gorden said the solid waste district’s collections have made it easier for people to get rid of unwanted tires.

The disposal fees are: $1 per car tire; $2 per car tire with rim; $5 per truck or tractor tire; and $10 per truck or tractor tire with rim. There is a limit of 50 tires per person.

People with between 51 and 499 tires are allowed a one-time on-site collection by the waste management district, which will pick up the tires for the same fees as the those at the fairgrounds, Jolly said.

Property owners with more than 500 tires should contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for information about on-site pickup.

Richard Allen, environmental specialist at the Department of Natural Resource’s Solid Waste Management Program, said the department will pick up tires for free only if the property owner is not responsible for the tire accumulation on the property.

“The pickup is mainly for folks who bought property with tires on it,” Allen said. “If they are responsible for the tires, there will be a fee.”

The tire fees collected from the scrap tire collection go toward paying Alternative Fuel Source to load tires into trailers and take them to be recycled. Some of the tires will be mixed with coal and used at power plants in St. Joseph, Sibley and Asbury. Tires burn hotter than coal, Gorden said, allowing the coal to burn cleaner with less pollution.

Alternative Fuel Source also plans to send some of the tires to International Mulch in St. Louis, which will incorporate them into a mulch product for playground surfaces, Gorden said.

“Tires are also used to create crumb, which is used in making such things as rubber mats and rubber buckets,” she said.

Last year, almost 132 tons of tires were collected in Boone, Audrain, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau and Osage counties. The event on Saturday is the only fall tire collection in this group of counties this year, and Jolly hopes there will be a lot of interest.

“If you’re close to Boone County, we encourage you to bring your tires to the collection,” Jolly said.

Four additional collections are planned for the spring in Callaway, Osage, Audrain and Cole counties.

Gorden said illegal dumping has been greatly reduced since the state began holding tire collections.

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