WALES, N.Y. (WIVB) – Every new tire that is sold in New York, whether at a tire store or as a set of four on a new car, has a $2.50 “tire disposal fee” attached collected by the State of New York.
New Yorkers pay the fee so when your tires are no longer useful, they don’t end up taking up space in a landfill. The state also uses the money to clean up old tire dumps, like at a dump site in the Town of Wales.
So far a contractor has piled up thousands of old tires that were dumped illegally for years in a remote ravine near Warner Hill Road. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is paying the Rochester-based contractor more than $200,000 to remove the tires before they lead to an environmental disaster, like a tire fire that could burn for days, or when water collects in old discarded tires allowing disease-carrying mosquitoes to breed.
Under the state contract, all the tires from passenger cars will be hauled off to a tire shredding facility near Syracuse, and reduced to rubber chips where they will be recycled for other uses. The final destination for one to two million tires each year is the shredder at Seneca Meadows Inc., near Waterloo.
DEC officials have identified more than 160 old piles of discarded tires across the state, and four of those piles are believed to contain at least one million tires each.
“The waste tires are processed through our tire processing facility. We are chipping the tires into a two-inch chip, and we reuse all those tire chips on site to replace stone aggregate,” said Don Gentilcore, area manager for Seneca Meadows.
The tire chips are used in place of stone at the company’s landfill, one of the largest active landfills in New York. Seneca Meadows only accepts passenger and light truck tires for shredding. The larger truck tires are sent off to another facility to be shredded.
“Not only does it provide an end use for the tires, but it also reduces the need to import stone materials. So it saves on having to bring in natural resources.”
While Seneca Meadows keeps their tire chips, other tire recyclers have found additional uses for shredded tires, such as rubber mulch for playground beds instead of wood chips, and in highway construction.