Official asks for assistance to help boost tire program
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Anne Arundel County could use a few extra dollars to boost its agricultural scrap tire program, a county official said last week.
The service, which allows county farmers to drop off large tires from tractors and other equipment at a farm in Harwood, has had to cut back this year due to cost increases and budget reductions, said Lisa Barge, agricultural marketing and development manager at the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation.
“We’re looking for sponsors if anybody wants to come and donate money. That would be nice,” she said. “We’re are a 501(c)3.”
The tire program, which is sponsored by the county Farm Bureau, Soil Conservation District and the state, currently deploys one large container at T&C Farm in Harwood. Farmers can make appointments with Barge to drop off ag tires, which can’t be taken to county landfills.
The container, which can accept between 15 and 23 tons of tires, can only be filled and processed once each year, she said. The company that recycles them, Emanuel Tire LLC in Baltimore, raised its collection fee this year to $200 per ton after several years of charging $100, Barge said.
In years past, the program has filled as many as five trailers. In addition to cutbacks, the program has had to be more stringent about who takes advantage of it, she said. Farmers from other counties were occasionally dropping tires off at the farm.
“We had an instance where we had a gentleman who, we think, was going to a gas station and being paid to dump them at our place,” Barge said.
Tom Collinson, an agricultural equipment repairman and farmer, is paid to host the container, but he said he enjoys handling them. So do plenty of other people, he said, and not all the tires end up in Baltimore.
“I got high schools, police departments coming to get them so they can flip them” during workouts, he said. “So they actually get recycled in a different way. It’s kind of neat that they go that way also.”
The county started the program six or seven years ago, Barge said, when it held drop-off days that proved to be too inconvenient.
“It wasn’t effective because the farms could not be there,” she said.
The program expanded over the next several years thanks to funding from several parties, including the Maryland Department of Environment, whose funding, Barge said, has dwindled.
The department of the environment holds scrap tire collection days across the state several times a year, often in partnership with the state Farm Bureau, said Jay Apperson, a department spokesperson. Nearly 1,700 tons of scrap agricultural tires were recycled over several events held this year, he said.
“It’s something we like to do when we have the resources to do it,” Apperson said.
Since 1998, he said, the state has recycled more than 20,000 tons of tires, including ag tires, at a cost of nearly $6 million.
To raise money for the Anne Arundel County program, it recently held a fundraising dinner, Barge said.
“We need money to support this program is what we need,” she said.
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