Ellis County’s half-price sale to get homeowners to dump tires at the county landfill was a big success, according to Public Works director Bill Ring.
The sale for Ellis County residents, not commercial businesses, ran for two weeks from Sept. 30 to Oct. 12.
“On a full month, on average, we bring in 3 tons of tires,” said Ring, speaking Monday evening to the Ellis County Commissioners at their regular meeting in the Ellis County Administrative Center, 718 Main. “We brought in 30-ton of tires in two weeks. So it was a busy place, but it was well worth it.”
Instead of the usual charge of $200 a ton or 10 cents a pound, the half-price sale was $100 a ton or 5 cents a pound. One or two passenger tires usually costs $6 for a resident to dump.
The last time the county had a tire amnesty program was eight to 10 years ago, according to earlier materials provided to the commissioners by Vern Ruder, landfill foreman.
Previous amnesty programs were funded with $10,000 grants by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, but those have since dried up with the state’s budget crisis, Ring said in July when the commission approved the half-price sale.
“Vern has tried for the last couple years to find some of the grants that we used to get, and unfortunately grants have become harder and harder to come by,” Ring told the commissioners Monday.
Ruder in July estimated the sale would cost the landfill anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. Ring said then that the program was worth it to try and clean up parts of the county, because old, piled-up tires will catch rainwater and become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, as well as cause other problems.
But the real cost turned out to be much less, Ring said Monday.
“When it was all said and done, we had a cost of approximately $500, which I think was money well spent to keep them out of ditches, not creating an environment for mosquitoes, or creating rural fire more problems,” he said.
The landfill always recycles any tires people bring in. They are normally picked up about every 30 days by a tire recycler near Park, west of Quinter. Double D Family Mat Shop Inc. weaves together tire treads and fastens them with bolts to make heavy-duty rubber mats for livestock feeding operations, as well as other tire-based products.
About 100 car tires equal a ton, Ruder has said. The haul the past two weeks represents a lot of tires, Ring said.
“Thirty tons is a lot, when you realize they’re 60 pounds apiece on average for a car tire,” he said Monday.
“Great,” said Commission Chairman Dean Haselhorst. “That’s a lot of tires.”
Ring said Public Works is already planning to schedule the event again for next year, hopefully like it did this year, having it about the same time the city does its annual fall cleanup.
“Doing this before the citywide cleanup, that’s when we’re going to gear it for next year as well, because they don’t pick tires up,” Ring said. “Those two projects work hand-in-hand together.”
The landfill had a lot of positive response from the community, he said, receiving many phone calls about it.
“We had, I think, a good turnout,” Ring said. “We may be asking you to go three weeks next year, if we’re doing that good to bring that out of the county.”