Getting rid of old tires is notoriously difficult and expensive. But the City of Kalamazoo is trying a pilot project to make that easier for its residents.
They can bring old tires to a parking lot at 322 East Stockbridge Avenue this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 30 through October 2, for free. Rachael Luscomb is a code compliance inspector for the city. She says, "This isn't a commercial or business program. This is for, if you have a couple of spare tires hanging around that you want to get rid of."
The hours for the collection program are 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, and and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tires should be removed from the rim before they are dropped off.
The program is only open to Kalamazoo City residents. Proof of residency is required. Those who are physically unable to bring tires to the collection site should call 311 for help. Businesses are not eligible. The city is using money from its privately funded Foundation for Excellence to cover the cost of collecting and disposing of the tires.
Luscomb says the tires will be recycled. "There's a company that we use out of Sturgis that turns it into different equipment. It can be turned into new roads or mulched for playgrounds."
Luscomb the project will help fight blight, and other problems. "Most tires will hold water in them, and they will also create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which creates a hazard for Triple-E."
Eastern Equine Encephalitis is one of several serious illnesses spread by mosquitoes. Luscomb says the city hopes the tire collection program will become an annual event. Each year, she says the city itself collects and disposes of improperly discarded tires.