Mahoning County nearly tripled its tire recycling last year over the previous year.
The totals collected were 148.5 tons in 2011 and 441.5 tons in 2012, Lou Vega, a statistician with the county recycling division, told the county Solid Waste Policy Committee recently.
Vega credited Youngs-town Litter Control and Recycling with much of the increase, noting that it conducted a tire-collection drive at the Covelli Centre and a tire drop-off program at multiple sites last year.
Jennifer Jones, Youngs-town Litter Control and Recycling coordinator, said the city sends scrap tires to a company that processes them into tire-derived fuel, asphalt and chips for safety pits under playground equipment.
The city conducts tire-collection drives to prevent illegal tire dumping, Jones said.
“We just collected them all at once versus picking them up off the side of the road for months to come,” she explained.
“The city is doing a good job trying to clean up areas and keep them clean,” said Mari Wren-Petrony, interim county recycling director.
“Where you see two tires, then you’re going to see 10 tires, so we’re trying to remove the two tires and then police the area,” Petrony added.
Petrony said tire recycling is a public health and safety priority because scrap tires present a potential fire and toxic smoke hazard and because stagnant rainwater sitting within them creates mosquito-breeding sites.