Waste tire collections pass 2 million

Waste tire collections pass 2 million More than 2.3 million waste tires and nearly 4,000 batteries have been collected for recycling under a state program to clean up tires throughout the state.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been identifying and collecting tire stockpiles since 1996. The waste tire collection program expanded over the last two years and is now part of Gov. Bill Janklow's Spruce Up South Dakota campaign to clean up South Dakota.

"I know cleaning up an entire state is a monumental task," said Janklow, "but it is tremendous to see people taking pride in their areas and rolling up their sleeves to get the job done. Getting rid of two million tires that had become eyesores and were environmental hazards waiting to happen is a great start."

DENR continues to collect tires from identified stockpiles around the state. The collection program expanded in 1999 to work with county and local officials to conduct free waste tire and vehicle battery collections in identified counties.

Collection figures through July 1 include 2,323,475 waste tires and 3,943 vehicle batteries. The 2.3 million waste tires collected include 1,668,950 tires from stockpiles and 654,525 tires from county collections. In Clay County, 49,000 tires were collected May 5 and 6.

DENR will hold tire and battery collection events in each East River county before the end of this year and all West River counties by the end of 2001. Countywide tire and battery collections have been held in 31 of the 44 East River counties and two West River counties. Four of the remaining 13 East River counties have collections scheduled in July or August. Nine East River counties have yet to set dates.

A DENR contractor processes the collected tires into tire derived fuel. The tire derived fuel is then taken to the Big Stone Power Plant, where it is mixed with coal to produce electricity. Collected vehicle batteries are turned over to a local recycler. Old vehicle batteries can be recycled and are worth something if traded in when purchasing a new one or when taken to a local recycler. The state accepts old batteries but does not pay for them at the collection events.

"These collection events are excellent opportunities for people to get both old tires and batteries out of their garages, shops, or yards, and have them disposed of for free in an environmentally safe manner," said Janklow.

Funding for the waste tire portion of these cleanups is being provided through $2.5 million in appropriations from the 1999 and 2000 Legislatures. The appropriations are funded in part by a tire fee paid during vehicle registration of 25 cents per tire up to a maximum of $1 per vehicle. The tire fee was established by the 1992 Legislature to help fund solid waste projects in South Dakota.

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