A scrap tire abatement law is expiring in Missouri, and the various parties involved aren't very worried about it. They should be.
The failure to renew a law that required a fee of 50 cents per new tire sold in the state ends the scrap tire abatement program in Missouri, except for some holdover projects. That means an end to a 14-year-old program that recycled more than 12 million scrap tires and funded the management of 5 million waste tires generated annually. The scrap tire fund also provided $1.3 million in grants to communities to buy recycled rubber surfacing for playgrounds.
Why couldn't the Missouri General Assembly renew the legislation before it adjourned? Politics and money. Ten bills reinstating the fee were introduced, and the one with the best chance fell victim to a filibuster. Some state senators viewed the bill as pork, benefiting a few recyclers.
What they get now is a state that has at least 2.5 million used tires in stockpiles, and an estimated million more lying about in uncontrolled environments: a great-and growing, since there's no incentive to properly dispose of tires-opportunity for scrap tire fires and mosquito-borne diseases.
The state's tire dealer association isn't too concerned, expecting Missouri's existing scrap tire markets and laws on tire handling and hauling to prevent new stockpiling. That's hopeful but hardly a sure thing.
The key word is ``incentive.'' There's less of one in Missouri for the proper disposal of worn-out tires and certainly to cut into the existing stockpile.
When no scrap tire abatement programs existed in the U.S., the tire industry and public sector ignored the issue, and it grew into an immense problem. Missouri is on track to find out history can repeat itself.