Ocean County Residents Will Soon Be Able to Recycle Tires for Free

Jul 26, 2017


Do you have old tires that have been hanging around in your garage or backyard for years but you haven’t gotten around to getting rid of them? If so, read on, because you now have a chance to save some money while doing so.

It is well known that old tires are one of the favorite breeding grounds for the types of mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects including microcephaly in the babies of mothers infected with the virus. So the CDC added Zika funding to its Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Building Efforts grant program, designed to help state and local government agencies battle and prevent infectious diseases. Ocean County, under an agreement with the Ocean County Mosquito Extermination Commission, will use $23,082 of CDC money that had been distributed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Mosquito Control Coordination to help convince residents to recycle their used, worn-out tires.

Starting Aug. 1, county residents can bring up to five tires a day to the Ocean County Southern Recycling Center in Stafford Township, or the Ocean County Northern Recycling Center in Lakewood. They will not have to pay the normal $2-a-tire recycling fee because the grant money will cover that expense until the grant funds are depleted and the free tire recycling ends.

“This program will help our efforts to be good environmental stewards and to reduce the risks of mosquito vectors known to transmit the Zika virus,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who serves as the liaison to both the Ocean County Board of Health and the county’s recycling program. “We need to be vigilant especially this time of year and raise awareness to help control the mosquito population for the health and safety of our residents.”

“We are hopeful this program will help encourage our residents to clear their property of old tires and bring them to our recycling centers, where they will be discarded properly,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.

Ocean County collects about 3,000 tires a year for recycling and hopes to increase that number with the waiving of the fee.

Could it be that the Zika virus has already burned itself out? After all, through July 19, the CDC had only reported 175 symptomatic Zika virus disease cases in the states so far this year, with no local mosquito-borne transmission. Remember, though, that the CDC didn’t report the first local mosquito-borne virus transmissions until July 29, 2016. The season is just revving up.

And even if Zika seems to be in retreat, remember, mosquitoes can transmit many other dangerous and even deadly viruses, such as West Nile, Eastern equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis.

— Rick Mellerup


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