October 2, 2003

Collection Keeps 310 Tons Of Waste Tires Out Of Dumps

Nearly 14,000 tires or approximately 310 tons of waste were diverted from area landfills courtesy of the recent Northeast Missouri Solid Waste Management District’s 2003 waste tire collections held in each of the region’s six counties.

Despite periods of gloomy weather during the collection periods, local residents still flocked to the two-day collection events held in Scotland, Clark, Knox, Adair, Schuyler and Lewis counties. The only stipulation for the free collection was that users were required to sign a waiver stating that no funds had been accepted for the disposal of the tires.

Scotland County trailed only the much larger Adair County in total tires collected. A total of 2,850 tires were gathered by Scotland County workers at the fairgrounds September 15-16. That included 2,021 light-duty car tires, 604 heavy-duty truck tires and 225 farm or construction grade tires.

Adair County led the six county region with a total of 3,973 tires collected. Lewis County collected 2,125 followed by Schuyler County with 1,734; Clark County 1,608 and Knox County with 1,470.

The 2003 collection surpassed the previous year’s total of 12,197 tires by more than 1,000.

Funding for the project was provided through a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and was administered by the Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission with the assistance of the local county commissions and the City of Kirksville.

County residents brought their tires to the designated collection point in each county where the county’s road and bridge departments unloaded the tires for the residents. The Kirksville Public Works Department handled the process for Adair County.

“Our staff really have to thank the city and county crews for all the time and labor that was put into these cleanups,” said Janna Cline, project coordinator for the NEMO RPC.

At the end of the two-day cleanups, Greenman Tech-nologies of Minnesota, Inc., brought an excavator with a grapple attachment tot he sites and loaded the tires into open-topped trailers. Semi-trucks took the tires to the company’s Des Moines, IA plant for recycling. The plant processes in excess of 350 million tons of tires annually.

The tires are recycled into a number of end market products ranging from tire-derived fuel to different types of crumb rubber raw material. The later is ultimately utilized in athletic tracks, football fields, mats, and many other products. The wire in the tires is extracted and the metal is recycled.

The tonnage for the 2003 project was similar to the previous year’s total weight despite being more than 1,500 tires larger. The difference was a decline in heavy-duty tires, which was more than made up for by a large increase in light-duty tires. The average weight of a car tire is 20 pounds compared to as much as 300 pounds per tractor tire. Overall the project pays $110 per ton for recycling meaning the 2003 project cost approximately $34,000.

The Northeast Missouri Solid Waste District has provided the free tire collection service since 1997. Overall more than 82,000 tires or 1,770 tons of tires have been collected and recycled.

“The purpose of the cleanup is obvious,” said Cline. “Waste tires that are not disposed of properly pose a serious threat to the health and population and to the environment.”

She cited the spread of the West Nile virus through Missouri in 2002 when seven people died of the mosquito-borne disease. Health department statistics reveal that each waste tire left unattended quickly can become breeding grounds for the fertilization of 10,000 to one million mosquitoes.

DNR estimates that despite waste district efforts across the state nearly 3 million tires remain in illegal dumpsites in Missouri. The state organization highlights these type of collection opportunities to prevent illegal dumping as well as burning of tires.

For more information on the project or future planned collections contact David Shoush, NEMO RPC Executive Director or Cline, Solid Waste Coordinator at the commission office at 660-465-7281.

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