ROCKFORD – Governor Pat Quinn made an Earth Day announcement today that Winnebago County is among those selected for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Used Tire Program.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) will conduct waste tire removal actions for 19 Illinois counties over the next few months, including all units of local government located within each of those counties. The dates and details regarding the 19 removal actions are yet to be determined, but will be established in coordination with each county. Illinois EPA will work with local governments to coordinate and properly dispose of waste tires collected from public properties, including roadsides, public parks and abandoned sites. Illinois EPA will also assist municipalities with disposal costs associated with the waste tires, and will help local officials enforce waste tire dumping laws.
“Tire-dumping harms communities by increasing the risk of disease, lowering property values and damaging the environment,” Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett said. “The Illinois EPA is proud to work with so many committed local partners across the state to not only clean up these tires, but to help law enforcement reduce this illegal dumping.”
The Illinois EPA's Used Tire Program began in 1990 and is funded by a $2.50 per tire user fee that consumers pay when purchasing tires at retail. The Used Tire Program helps properly dispose of tires at a registered, commercial used tire processing facility in Illinois. Some tires are retreaded and reused, and others are recycled into a variety of products and beneficial uses. Most are shredded into a high-energy fuel supplement known as tire-derived fuel, and are burned in power plants, industrial boilers or cement kilns for energy recovery. Illinois is recognized as a national leader in the management of used and waste tires. For more information, visit epa.state.il.us/land/tires.
Dumping tires is illegal, and dumping more than 50 is a Class 4 felony in Illinois. The Environmental Protection Act allows state and local law enforcement to issue citations of up to $1,500 for each violation.
Dumped tires are an eyesore, can contaminate air, land and water, and serve as habitats for disease-carrying insects, particularly mosquitoes. Illinois citizens produce more than 14 million used tires annually - that's at least one used tire per person per year.