by David Goldstein
Ventura County Public Works Agency

A couple of simple auto maintenance tasks can help your tires last longer and also save you gas. If you properly rotate and inflate your tires, you will save money while cutting waste.

According to www.autos.com, proper tire rotation can extend tire life up to 20 percent, improve vehicle performance, and cut fuel consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s www.fueleconomy.gov website, not only do appropriately inflated tires last longer, but also “under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires.”

When your tires finally need to be retired, the resources and energy trapped in your old tires might not be recycled. Many local tire dealers transport (or arrange for their old tires to be transported) to Azusa Land Reclamation, a monofill for tires. A monofill is a landfill for just one item. Whole tires cannot be disposed of in local landfills, because garbage compacting around tires and equipment pushing on tire edges can cause tires to “rise” through the garbage, eventually breaking the clay cap placed on top of a landfill after it reaches its permitted contours. A broken cap on a closed landfill can allow excessive moisture into the waste, creating methane gas. The Azusa monofill solves this problem by accepting only tires, and its fire suppression and mosquito abatement efforts make this disposal safe, but if does not recycle, according to investigator Michael Aguilar, Los Angeles County Environmental Health Division.

As an alternative to disposal, tire recycling is improving in Ventura County due to customer demand for it. The company collecting tires from most major local tire retailers recently switched destinations and now hauls to CRM, a tire recycler in Compton. A representative said that this switch was because some corporate clients now require recycling rather than disposal. Tire dealers needing the collection company’s services are responding to customer inquiries as well as their own corporate officers’ desires to be environmentally responsible. A spokesman assured me, “Our truck drivers don’t even know the way to Azusa anymore.”

Another major change in favor of tire recycling is about to happen at one of Ventura County’s largest facilities for handling discards. Until recently, all three of Ventura County’s major facilities for handling discards sent tires to Azusa. The Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station, administered by the city of Oxnard, is currently preparing a request for bids, asking for a tire hauler to take its tires to a recycler. Similar to the change at major corporations, it is specifying recycling rather than simple tire removal, due to customer interest and the City Council’s desire to be environmentally responsible.

You can keep your “eye on the environment” by asking “Will you recycle my old tires?” the next time your tires are changed. You can also save money and prevent waste in the first place by properly maintaining your tires.

More information about tire maintenance, recycling, and cleanup of tire dumps:

www.autos.com/car-maintenance/benefits-of-regular-tire-rotation
www.calrecycle.ca.gov/tires/Products/Catalog/default.htm
www.calrecycle.ca.gov/tires/grants/
www.oxnard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/PDF_Del_Norte_Recycling.pdf

Eye on the Environment is a service of the Ventura County Public Works Agency