The County of Hawai‘i Department of Environmental Management’s Solid Waste Division has issued a public reminder about the hazards of discarded old tires.
“If not disposed of properly, discarded tires can lead to the spread of disease,” according to county officials. “If they catch fire they create toxic smoke. Not to mention the fact that old tires are ugly, and detract from the natural beauty of Hawai‘i.”
Old tires left outside collect rain water, providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes that can be carriers of dengue, Zika, chikungunya and other diseases. On Hawai‘i Island there was an outbreak of dengue from 2015 to 2016 and 264 people were reported infected. Dengue in rare cases can be fatal. Recent outbreaks of Zika in other parts of the world have caused severe brain damage in the fetuses of pregnant women.
In Hawai‘i, State Law HRS Chapter 342I Part II requires proper disposal of old tires and bans them from landfills and transfer stations. Old tires must be disposed of at an approved tire collection or recycling company. There is usually a fee. Visit www.hawaiizerowaste.org/tires for more information and a list of approved companies.
The law requires that tire retailers add disposal fees to the purchase price of tires. This creates an incentive for buyers to leave the old tires with the retailers that sold tires to them and helps assure proper disposal.
Recovered tires are recycled into new products or are burned to make energy.