Tire Redemption Program runs without a hitch

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - After a controversial start to the Memphis-Shelby County Tire Redemption Program, city and county leaders were determined to make sure Tire Redemption II ran smoothly.

People lined up early Sunday night outside the Memphis-Shelby County Tire Redemption Program.

"I think we made it out here at five o'clock this evening," Keneth Nash explained as he sat in his pickup filled with tires to redeem.

People slept in their cars and waited for the tire program to start rolling at 7:00 a.m.

By 11:15 a.m., nearly 60,000 tires weighing 402 tons were redeemed, at a buck a piece.

The goal is to make the Mid-South beautiful and put some cash in people's pockets.

"I've already explained to the mayor the need to put this kind of measure in our budget and he's agreed to do that," Council Chairman Harold Collins announced at a news conference Monday that the city and county hope to redeem tires twice per year.

Last December, people were upset when the program ran out of money and mounds of illegally dumped tires turned up around town.

At that time, we learned Mack Tires charged more than 40-thousand dollars to recycle the tires, leaving the program with less than 60-thousand bucks to give out.

The cost of Tire Redemption II was not negotiable, but there are negotiations with other companies.

"They would convert the tires to bio fuels in an environmentally sensitive manner in a way that they won't charge us for the tires," County Commissioner Steve Mulroy told the press.  "This way, $100k of combined funding gets 100k tires, not 60k tires," he added.

Collins and Mulroy are calling the collective effort a success.

"Over 13-hundred tons of illegally dumped tires off the streets and into recycling," Mulroy declared.  "So we went green," he said after announcing he is also pondering a Cash for Trash program.

To give more people a piece of the pie, they lowered the number of tires each person could redeem from 250 to 100.

Officials are making a plea to people who collected tires, but couldn't redeem them in time.

"Please don't dump the tires illegally," Mulroy implored.

Mack's Tires will accept redemption tires at 3000 Elvis Presley Boulevard, but you won't get cash for it.

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