Dade County Dist. 4 Commissioner Allan Bradford (left) supervises as "Your Dade Helper" John Huffman (right) loads scrap tires into a truck with the help of jail trusties at Tire Amnesty Day on Saturday.
Dade's long-awaited Tire Amnesty Day last Saturday was a resounding success by any measure, with long lines of pickup trucks waiting to be unloaded and too many scrap tires collected to fit into the three tractor-trailers allotted for the purpose.
Tire Amnesty days are eco-grant-funded events when residents may unload accumulated scrap tires fee-free. The county transfer station usually charges $6.75 to accept tires, which are unsuitable for landfills because of their bulk and tendency to fill with methane and rise to the surface like restless spirits. Rural Dade is prime real estate for illegal dumpers, and not only are the scrap tires unsightly but they breed mosquitoes. Dade Executive Chairman Ted Rumley says state environmental officials are in the county several times a week about the biohazard they represent.
Dade County activist John Huffman, who is spending his retirement trying to do good as county super-volunteer "Your Dade Helper," has been agitating for a tire amnesty in the county for a couple of years, and Dade District 4 Commissioner Allan Bradford, whose committee assignment is the county transfer station, says he's been trying to arrange one for almost that long. When the day finally dawned on Jan. 12, the county's need for it was evinced by the line of tire-laden pickup trucks that Bradford said awaited him when he arrived at the transfer station at 6 a.m.
The amnesty began at 8 a.m., and the trucks were still backed up a quarter mile when The Planet arrived a little past 1 p.m. "It's been this way all day long," said Bradford "We've got over 3000 tires so far."
Your Dade Helper Huffman, shuttling back and forth to the transfer station to transport tires for such county residents as do not own pickup trucks--yes, the species does exist--said he was on his fourth load. Another team of county volunteers, Dade's "Men in Yellow," the jail trusties without whose labor the county might well grind to a halt, Bradford said had been working nonstop since 8 a.m. without a lunch break, though he'd brought in burgers that they'd eaten on the fly. Bradford said the amnesty would go on until the posted cutoff hour of 3 p.m., and that tires that didn't fit onto the semi trucks allotted for them would be stacked for later pickup.
Bradford said a second amnesty is already in the works, this one not just for standard passenger-car and truck tires but for larger ones as well. He couldn't say when that might be, though. "It's taken me a year and a half to make this one happen," he said.
Bradford said the tires collected on Amnesty Day would not be discarded but would be cut up and recycled. The shredded tire rubber will be used in road construction and dyed for mulch, he said.