Empire District Celebrating Earth Day by Burning Tires

...and selling them back to you.

It sounds preposterous, but sure enough, along with the tree giveaway, local energy monopoly Empire District Electric Co (EDE), will graciously be accepting tires for “recycling” this Friday. This is taken from the latest April Joplin Citizen newsletter.

"To celebrate Earth Day, there will be a FREE tire drop-off event on Friday, April 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Joplin Recycling Center, 1310 West A Street. Automotive passenger tires, with or without rims will be accepted from Joplin residents, Joplin residential landlords, and Empire District Electric Company residential customers. Up to ten tires per household will be accepted. Commercial, large truck or racecar tires will not be accepted. This free event is funded by Empire District Electric Company and the City of Joplin. The tires will be hauled to a processor for chipping, then sent to Empire’s Asbury, Missouri power plant and used as fuel to make electricity. For more information, contact Mary Anne Phillips, City of Joplin Recycling Coordinator at 417-624-0820, extension 501, or visit the City’s website at www.joplinmo.org."

Yes, that's correct, tires dropped off will be chopped up and burned. Despite being billed as "environmentally friendly," it is among the least environmentally-friendly methods of disposal in Missiouri, where landfill disposal is restricted. Clearly Joplin officials as well as news personnel are unaware of this and are instead, mindlessly "partnering" with EDE to help them offset fuel costs. The following is taken from the EPA Frequently Asked Questions regarding Tire Disposal (emphasis added):

Preferred management methods for municipal solid waste are waste prevention, followed by recycling, followed by incineration for energy recovery, and finally land disposal. For tires, retreading is a form of waste prevention and saves valuable resources. Recycling also conserves materials. For example, the use of ground rubber in products and in rubberized asphalt saves new resources from being used. In cases like these, recycling makes good economic sense.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources offers information about tire disposal and grants for true recycling proposals. Tires not resting in landfills is a good thing, but let's be clear about what is true "recycling" and not confuse it with grinding up tires to burn as fuel, benefitting the local monopoly that made $63 million last year.

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Lief Eric Malone's picture
Lief Eric Malone

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Empire District Celebrating Earth Day by Burning Tires