DeKalb Earth Fair to recycle old tires

By Matt Gilbert

Environmentally-conscious DeKalb residents will get a chance to turn in their used tires for recycling at the upcoming Earth Fair.

The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 17 at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau, 315 N. Sixth Street.

Cameron Davis, DeKalb Public Works administrative assistant and one of the fair’s organizers, said, “What we’re going to do is allow residents who live in the community of DeKalb who have any automobile tires lying around their homes that they would like to get rid of, free of charge, to bring them to the parking lot that is immediately south of the DeKalb Farm Bureau and drop them off.

“They will be collected in a semi and brought to a company by the name of Scrap Tire Systems of Illinois where they will be broken down and prepared for re-use,” he said.

DeKalb County has never recycled tires before. Up until now discarded tires have been placed in a county landfill. The mayor and the city council have said they want to eliminate the practice and many community members also have indicated their support, Davis said.

“We did a survey here a couple of months back. Residents were overwhelmingly supportive of recycling tires even if it costs them a couple of dollars to do it,” he said.

Beginning July 1, the city will no longer allow DeKalb County Disposal to collect automobile tires with regular refuse for placement in the landfill. Instead, the tires will be collected separately and residents will be charged up to $3 per tire to cover the cost of the recycling.

“Unfortunately, not a lot of money is made off of products that are collected (for recycling). In terms of tires, there is not a big demand yet. It costs money to recycle just like it costs money to pick up garbage. The amount of money you get selling it does not offset the cost of having to pick it up and process it.

“Not enough people are buying recycled paper, not enough people are buying recycled plastic. As soon as everyone starts buying recycled (products) maybe companies will be more competitive, and they’ll start paying you a dollar for the tire instead of you having to pay them a dollar (to remove) the tire,” Davis said.

The tire drop off is being sponsored by the City of DeKalb and DeKalb County Disposal. They will be able to accept up to 500 tires during the three-hour collection period.

A variety of products are now being made from recycled automobile tires, including playground equipment and asphalt.