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A Tyresome Subject

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Tyred of this?

Used tyres have a reputation for being notoriously bad for the environment. A common sight at the side of roads or on fly-tipping sites, old tyres are often not disposed of as they should be and once again fly tipped tyres have been reported locally on social media (thank you John). John highlighted what seems to be familiar scenes of dumped tyre mountains spoiling the lovely countryside around our villages and towns. It is hard to understand the mentality of someone who would (probably) go out of their way to drive to these quiet locations to offload their old tyres.

Recycling

Whilst generally old tyres, made of steel, rubber and textile, are known to be difficult to recycle and involve a lengthy process, disposal isn't rocket science. Unwanted tyres can be taken to Recycling Centres. There may be a limit to how many you can take and you will be charged. Here are the published charges from Somerset Waste Partnership at household recycling centres around Somerset;
£4.10 per unrimmed tyre
£5.40 per rimmed tyre

This level of charge is not unusual – Dorset, Devon and North Somerset for e.g. also charge between £3.00 and £5.00 per car tyre but other authorities offer the service free on production of a council tax bill or proof of residence in the authority area and with restrictions on numbers – up to four per visit for example in one authority area.

I suspect though that most of us leave our old tyres with the garage when we have them replaced. A commercial operator will have a number of options, including a specialist collection or taking to a local commercial recycling centre. There will be a charge which, at what seems to be the closest facilities at Evercreech or Wincanton, amounts to less than £2.00 per tyre (£230 per tonne, about 140+/- average car tyres).

Yes, that is a cost to business, but as consumers we must be prepared to pay that. The cost of a new tyre fitted will already cover the cost of handling/storing and disposal of the old car tyre. The garage that fits a new tyre for you will by law have a tyre disposal mechanism. Ask them what it is if you like!

Just maybe though there is a disconnect. The twelve tyres John reported would have cost about fifty quid and, depending on the limit in Somerset, possibly three trips to the recycling centre. The commercial recycler takes a minimum 0.25 tonnes – so say about 35 tyres. None of this excuses the fly tipping of course, but it does beg the question – if recycling was cheaper, would there be less fly tipping? I've no wish to stray into politics here, so would just remind everyone that fly tipping is illegal and carries a maximum 5 year jail sentence or fine of up to £50,000. You can report fly tipping to SSDC by phone on 01935 462462 or here

Repurposing

Recycling tyres is a lengthy process that involves the separation and disintegration of the rubber. What is known as 'rubber crumb' finds alternative uses in carpet underlay, sports tracks, and roof tiles. But you could think about repurposing yourself;

If you're feeling green-fingered, you could always recycle your tyres in a more innovative way. Old tyres make excellent garden planters when filled with soil or great boundary markers if painted white.

Tyre swings are one of the most common ways to re-use tyres. They provide good swings for children. Also, it is straightforward to do. All you need is a big tree and rope. It'd be handy make a hole at the bottom of the tyre swing to prevent the accumulation of rainwater. Obvious I know, but having suffered the consequences of a water filled tyre, I thought I'd just mention it!

What about garden furniture? We spray painted a few and filled them with rubble for stability, topped with a level surface this is now referred to in these parts as the b@ll@ck$ table. No idea why, but obviously no reference to the debates held there!

Are you artistic? Old tyres can be used to form different sculptures and shapes. Or that scarecrow you're building for Curry Rivel Open Gardens. What scarecrow? Click here for more.

With thanks to my Kwik Fit friend for allowing me to lift information and photos from their website, some of which I have borrowed shamelessly!

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