Changes to scrap tire collection have left nearly a third of Saskatchewan rural municipalities with piles of discarded tires that councillors and residents want removed.
The Saskatchewan Scrap Tire Corp., a non-profit organization that had operated the province’s tire recycling program since 1996, dissolved Aug. 31 after new regulations came into force earlier in the summer.
Tire Stewardship of Saskatchewan, a new industry-led non-profit, received approval in October to operate tire collection programs for the next three years and says it has a plan to deal with the so-called legacy tires.
The SSTC had operated the Black Gold Rush program, which collected tires from private stockpiles at no cost even though a recycling fee may not have been paid on all of them.
The corporation paid for the program out of its surpluses, and after two years of losses it was suspended.
However, only 227 rural municipalities were able to participate before the suspension, leaving 69 without a pick-up program.
The RMs are mainly in the Saskatoon, Meadow Lake, Lloyd-minster, Regina, Moose Jaw and Weyburn areas.
Leslie Clark, a councillor in the RM of Parkdale at Glaslyn, said the piles of tires don’t help the province’s image.
“The average farmer has 50-plus tires that they can’t get rid of,” she said during the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities’ recent midterm convention.
Delegates overwhelmingly agreed that the SARM board should press the province for funding to TSS so the program can be completed.
TSS chair Colin Fraser told the convention that the organization will come through.
“We know this is an important aspect of the program to the RMs and your ratepayers,” he said.
TSS is planning its legacy programs for 2018 and looking at more cost-effective ways to increase collection.
It intends to expand the Return to Retailer (R2R) program across the province. It allowed residents to take a maximum of 10 rimless tires to select retailers for drop off. TSS hopes to increase that maximum number.
“The legacy clean-up fund is a new program being considered, where the TSS would work directly with inquiring landowners to do special pickups,” Fraser said.
Co-ordinating with municipalities for local pick-up days could be an option, and working with the 69 RMs left out of Black Gold Rush is also likely.
However, Fraser said the short-term legacy priority is to clean up two significantly large abandoned stockpiles in the town of Assiniboia, which has about 45 million pounds of scrap tires, and near Lashburn, where about five million lb. are located.
He said this is urgent, given the environmental hazards and fire risk.
Assiniboia is the 2018 priority. A private landowner owns the Lashburn site.