Shredding supports tire recycling in Tioga County
Due to a $10,000 per year, 5-year donation
totaling $50,000 from businessman Adam Weitsman, president of
Owego-based Upstate Shredding, Tioga County is cleaning up more
old tires than ever before. Moreover, this highly successful
tire recovery program is helping preserve the scenic beauty of
this historic, rural county in the southeastern corner of the
Finger Lakes Region of New York.
“There’s been a noticeable decline in the number of tires littering
the county. We used to see it all the time, but now we only see
it occasionally. I used to have residents call and let me know
about abandoned tires, but now I’m not getting those calls,”
said Ellen Pratt, Tioga’s solid waste manager.
Before the Upstate donation, Tioga County’s solid waste budget
was stretched tight and there was little money to address the
nagging, unsightly, and environmentally hazardous problem of
recovering and responsibly recycling used tires. New York State’s
Waste Tire Management and Recycling Act was enacted solely to
ensure the proper management of waste tires. To comply, Tioga
has to ship its tires to a certified recycler at a cost of over
$100 dollars per load.
As a result, Tioga, like many solid waste jurisdictions across
the country, was forced to charge fees to accept old tires at
their recycling facilities. Fees range from $2 for 17 inch tires
to $12 for 36 inch, and there are additional fees up to $5 if
tires are mounted on rims.
The national problem with fee-based municipal programs is that
it encourages hording, or illegal dumping, both endangering the
environment and causing fire hazards.
Under the Upstate-sponsored program, Tioga County is now holding
free, tire drop-off events, lasting from three days to one week
in the towns of Owego, Barton, Candor, Spencer and Tioga. “In
the towns that have participated, it has been really successful.
They are enthusiastic about cleaning up their old tires. So far,
we have cleaned up over 250 tons of tires. Upstate’s donation
covers the cost of disposal,” said Pratt. In addition to providing
free tire disposal, the program also accepts tires collected
along the roads by municipal workers.