City Moves to Reduce Illegal Tire Dumping

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COLUMBIA - City officials have started a new program to reduce the number of tires being dumped illegally and in places that harm the environment.

Each year, people illegally dump about 6 million used tires in Missouri.

These tires then become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, snakes, rats and eventually leak carcinogens into the environment.

The regional Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District (MMSWMD) said this is a bigger problem than people might think.

DeAnna Trass, district manager of the MMSWMD, said people dump the tires to avoid paying to have them recycled, as the law requires.

"There's a fee. It's a two to three dollar, sometimes four dollar fee and people are not gonna pay that. So it's easier for them to put them in the ditch, in someone's yard, an empty lot...they'll just pitch em," Trass said.

For the first time ever, the MMSWMD partnered with the city to host a free tire collection event November 18.

Hundreds of people lined up to drop off thousands of tires.

Ricky Owen of Millersburg recycled 50 tires he found dumped at the back of his property.

"They were on the perimeter of my yard.  Somebody's been throwing tires out and it's a dead end road and they keep coming down there and throwing tires out and trash, so we tired to pick it up and clean up," Owen said.

"They don't really break down.  You want things to biodegrade and they don't do that," Trass said.

The tires collected at the free event were taken to Kansas City to become playground mulch.

Any tire dealer can also recycle used tires for a fee.