SUMTER, S.C. — Tires are something we see everyday. Have you ever thought about what happens when they’re not rolling down the road? According to Sumter Litter Control Officer Glenn Button, many become litter.
"It’s a big issue," Button shared. "Lotta people throw it on other people’s properties, they throw 'em in ditches, they’re on the side of the roads."
To help with this, the city is hosting a Tire Buy Back event. Residents can visit the Sumter County Civic Center on Saturday to recycle up to 20 tires without rims. In exchange, you can get $2 per tire.
This is helpful in many ways, says Richard Chesley with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
"Tires at the end of their life pose a potential risk to human health, the environment and even communities," Chesley explained. "Stockpiles or illegally dumped tires, tires out in fields, etc. can collect rainwater, which can provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes that transmit illness. So there’s a risk right there to human health."
Additionally, tire fires release harmful pollutants into soil and the air, and they can decrease property value if they’re left on someone’s property or on the side of the road.
"Not only are they on the side of the streets, they’re piled up at our landfill too," Public Works Director Karen Hyatt said.
Sumter County’s landfills see as many as 600 tons of tires each year.
That’s about 60,000 tires that the county then recycles into new uses, like playground foundations, Button tells me.
"We want you to love where you live," he shared. "That’s our motto here in Sumter with our litter program and we want you to be the solution, not the pollution."
Residents can visit the Sumter County Civic Center on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The tires cannot be on rims and there is a maximum of 20 per individual. The resident must present a driver's license.
While this weekend's event provides a monetary incentive to recycle, it's not the only option.
"A resident can take their tires to any of the county recycling centers. They can take up to five tires a visit, no charge, no questions," Hyatt shared. "They can always bring them to a landfill, a resident can. No cost to drop the tires off here at the landfill."