Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (October 17, 2013) - The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved $1.5 million in funding for the collection of scrap tires – allowing the program to increase its protection of the environment and public health by placing a greater emphasis on large tires from  farm equipment.

The Board approved the funding yesterday for the Scrap Tire Citizen and Agricultural Drop-Off Day Project, which provides Maryland residents free opportunities to dispose of accumulated scrap tires. The program is seeking to increase the collection of scrap farm tires, which because of their size create challenges in collection and handling. When improperly disposed of, scrap tires can create risks to the environment and public health through the potential for fire and by providing habitat for such disease-carrying pests as mosquitoes and rodents.

The Board is composed of Governor Martin O’Malley, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

Maryland’s scrap tire program has been a huge success, recovering more than 10 million scrap tires from illegal stockpiles and collecting hundreds of thousands more for proper disposal or recycling,” said MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers. “As part of our efforts to expand recycling across the board, we want to make it easier for farmers to dispose of agricultural tires that are large and difficult to handle. Proper scrap tire collection and recycling helps protect the environment and public health and reduces the greenhouse gases that cause climate change.”

Today’s funding approval is for the continuation of the tenth Drop-Off Day project. In past years, some counties accepted agricultural tires and some did not. The current 20 participating counties are now required to accept agricultural tires of any size or type. Through MDE’s Scrap Tire Program funding, Maryland Environmental Service is working with the counties and the Maryland Farm Bureau to collect and properly dispose of scrap tires.

In addition to today’s approval, in May the Board approved $500,000 for the project. The money is used to reimburse counties for their costs. Several drop-off events have already been held this year. Upcoming events are scheduled for: Oct. 27 (agricultural tires only) at Central Landfill in Elkton, Cecil County; Nov. 9 at the Citizen Drop-Off Center at Western Sanitation Yard, 701 Reedbird Avenue in Baltimore City; Nov. 9 at Hobbs Road Landfill in Denton, Caroline County; Nov. 10 at Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill in Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County; Nov. 16 at Forty West Landfill in Hagerstown, Washington County; and Dec. 7 at Appeal Landfill in Lusby, Calvert County. For more details contact MDE's Scrap Tire Program at 410-537-3314. The Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation operates a scrap tire disposal program for farmers only. For details on arranging a drop-off under that program call 410-222-7410.

The funding for the project comes from Maryland’s Used Tire Cleanup and Recycling Fund, which is administered by MDE. That fund is supported through an 80 cent recycling fee for each tire bought in Maryland. The fund supports  MDE’ scrap tire program, which in addition to funding citizen drop-off programs has successfully recovered more than 10.6 million scrap tires from illegal stockpiles.

Maryland generated an estimated 5.8 million scrap tires in the fiscal year that began in July 2011, according to the most recent annual report on Maryland’s scrap tire program. More than a million have been collected at citizen drop-off events. Scrap tires, because of their size and shape present difficult and costly disposal and recycling challenges. Tires may not be disposed in landfills because they do not compact and tend to float to the top of the landfill.

The improper management of scrap tires presents risks to the environment and public health. Scrap tires can:

  • Provide good living conditions for mosquitoes that can spread diseases such as   Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
  • Provide breeding grounds for rats, snakes, ticks, and other vectors.
  • Present a fire hazard when improperly stored.
  • Emit dangerous oils and soot into the air and water when burned illegally.


What you can do to help reduce scrap tire-related problems

Purchase retreaded tires. Approximately 400 million gallons of oil are saved each year due to the use of retreaded tires. 

Properly maintain tires. This extends wear and increases the chance that they can be retreaded.

  • Keep tires inflated at recommended inflation level. Under inflation can waste up to 5 percent of a car's fuel.
  • Repair punctures, maintain alignment, and rotate tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.

To avoid mosquitoes, prevent water accumulation in tires. If you have a tire swing or dock tire bumpers, puncture holes in the tires so they won't hold water. You can also purchase environmentally friendly repellents.

To find licensed sites that collect scrap tires from the public and ensure that tires are ultimately recycled, call MDE's Scrap Tire Program at 410-537-3314 or contact your County’s solid waste division. To report illegal dumping activities, contact MDE’s Solid Waste Program at 410-537-3315.