Recycling firm implements successful community tire collection drive

Jan. 1, 2020
Adam Weitsman, president of Upstate Shredding in Owego, N.Y., is contributing $10,000 annually over five years to fund a Tioga County tire cleanup program.
Adam Weitsman, president of Upstate Shredding in Owego, N.Y., is contributing $10,000 annually over five years to fund a Tioga County tire cleanup program.

“I have to give Adam credit. He’s donating this money to clean up these tires and he gets very little from it aside from beautifying the county,” says Ellen Pratt, Tioga’s solid waste manager.

“There’s been a noticeable decline in the number of tires littering the county,” she reports. “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,” Pratt points out.

“We have two scrap metal processing and recycling facilities in Owego,” says Weitsman, “and our company is extremely environmentally conscious at all our other operations. This is one small way of telling the community that responsible recycling benefits everyone.”

Prior to the donations, the 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,” he notes.

To comply with New York State’s Waste Tire Management and Recycling Act, Tioga has had to ship its tires to a certified recycler at a cost of more than $100 per load.



As a result, Tioga, like many solid waste jurisdictions across the country, was forced to charge fees to accept old tires at its recycling facilities. Fees range from $2 for 17-inch tires to $12 dollars for 36-inch, and there are additional fees up to $5 if the 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, according to Weitsman.

Under the Upstate-sponsored program, Tioga County is now holding free, three-times-a year, tire drop-off events – each lasting from three days to a week – in the communities of Owego, Barton, Spencer and Tioga.

“In the towns that have participated, it has been really successful,” says Pratt. “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.”

In addition to providing free tire disposal for residents and businesses, the program also accepts tires collected along the roads by municipal workers.

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