The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

County to collect scrap tires for first time in four years


If you've got scrap tires, during at least one week of September Sidney has the means for free disposal.

Currently, the Sidney landfill takes tires for a fee. Car tires are $5, truck tires are $10 and tractor tires are $20.

"When we have enough, we send them off to get recycled," said Rob Campbell, solid waste superintendent with the city of Sidney.

Cheyenne County's first scrap tire cleanup since 2009 will start Sept 16 and will run through Sept 21, or until a 300 ton quota is reached. Tires can be dropped off at the city of Sidney's landfill from 7 a.m-4p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Keep Sidney Beautiful and the city landfill are working in conjunction on the cleanup. The city received a $33,300 grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to take care of scrap tires in May. This money came out of the Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grants Program. Funds for these grants come from NDEQ through a dollar tax or fee on every tire sold in the state.

Both KSB and the city landfill fielded many calls from area residents wishing to get rid of scrap tires in the past few months.

"People were really biting at the bit, calling the landfill a lot, calling Keep Sidney Beautiful," said Cheryl Jones, director of KSB.

Campbell thinks holding a tire cleanup on fairly regular basis would keep this problem in check.

"If we can keep getting one every two or three years, it should be fine," Campbell said.

The cleanup gives the city a great outlet to get rid of scrap tires for free, Campbell added. Otherwise, people who don't want to pay for disposal might leave tires to rot in yards or drop them off in ditches, which is a detriment to Sidney's appearance.

"I think you get a lot thrown in trash cans and in alleys," Campbell said.

Campbell advises the public that although the department's nine full time staff members will be assisting with the cleanup whenever they get a chance, they will still be attending to everyday duties as well.

"Be patient," Campbell said. "Don't get in a hurry."

Because there hasn't been a drop off in four years, Jones is expecting a big turnout.

"We are requesting that people have an ID proving that they live in that county," Jones said. "When they show up with their tires, that's the safest way to be able to get through."

Those dropping off tires must unload the objects themselves. Scrap tires cannot be attached to rims or any other metal. This costs the landfill too much in labor to remove them. Those dropping off tires will have to log in, weigh the scrap tires, log the number of tires and tell those at the landfill where the tires came from, Jones added.

Once the tires are collected they will be shredded and turned into land fill cover.

"It's just a real thick, heavy quality that goes between layers and insulates the land so that garbage and stuff isn't getting down into the soil, causing chemical problems with the water and things like that," Jones said.

KSB applied for the tire cleanup grant on behalf of the city of Sidney. Jones had to obtain three separate bids and Resource Management out of Kansas won with lowest bid.

"We applied for the grant for them because our purposes are to teach the community recycle, reduce and reuse, to reduce the litter and to educate the county and Sidney" Jones said.

There were five additional scrap tire collections in the panhandle this year. Cheyenne county's is the last one to take place.

"We're kind of hopeful that people who were biting at the bit to get rid of their tires, that most of those counties will be done and won't be trying to get into our collection," Jones said.

Some other counties filled their quotas very quickly, so those in Cheyenne County should be prepared for the same, Jones added.

"They need to know, the sooner they get over there with their tires, the better chance they have," Jones said. "We're just working on a grant, we're not just working to the convenience of the community. I mean, we'd like to but we don't have that option."

After the 300 ton limit is met, the landfill will no longer accept tires for free. The purpose of the cleanup is to make sure tires aren't sitting around in people's backyards or in the trash.

"The point of this was to be charged or taxed one dollar for every tire that you buy, that that will then go back toward the environmental process of recycling rather than just throwing these into landfills when rubber does not decompose," Jones said.

It takes hundreds of years for tires to decompose, she added.

"We're getting them back out of there and using them for a good purpose," Jones said.


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