VENTURA, Calif.-The Ventura County Solid Waste Management Department soon will be meeting with that county's independent tire dealers to drum up participation in the agency's consumer scrap tire reduction program. The joint public-private program, which seeks to reduce the number of tires reaching landfills by encouraging consumers to preserve tread life, could have the added benefit of boosting dealers' bottom lines, according to project coordinator David Goldstein.
By this fall, his county department intends to distribute brochures, refrigerator magnets and other promotional items that encourage consumers to, among other things, buy longer-lasting tires-tires that traditionally have higher profit margins, Mr. Goldstein said.
``We want to say, `Don't just buy a lower-priced tire, because you'll pay in the long run' with maintenance and replacement costs,'' he said.
The pamphlet, which will carry the theme, ``Don't let your tires get tired,'' will also discuss the benefits of proper tire care, emphasizing tire rotations, balancing and alignments.
To help develop the brochure, solid waste department representatives will be meeting with independent tire dealers, gas station owners and managers of mass merchandisers and warehouse clubs this summer to gather tire conservation information, according to Gregory Warren, an economic development specialist with the county.
The program's brochure will be produced and stored on computer disk so the entire program can easily be adapted to other areas of California, Mr. Warren said.
``All they will have to do is slap on their city logo and they are ready to go,'' he added.
The department will also begin soliciting financial support for the program during its visits to the 40-some dealerships in Ventura County, Mr. Warren said.
In May, the California Integrated Waste Management Board awarded the county a $15,000 grant to cover implementation costs and to help leverage money for the remainder of the program. But Mr. Goldstein said he hopes tire dealers will support the continuation of program.
``The industry has a responsibility to take care of tire disposal. It's too expensive to recycle everything if the burden is on local governments,'' Mr. Goldstein said.
Many California programs, including Ventura's tire conservation effort, are targeting what the waste management industry calls ``source reduction,'' an effort by consumers to lower their amounts of waste products that need to be discarded or recycled.
Source reduction is the first step in the waste management ``Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'' hierarchy, Mr. Warren noted.
California law mandates that waste management districts reduce their amount of waste disposal 25 percent by 1995 and 50 percent by the turn of the century, which accounts for part of the impetus behind the tire program. Districts that fail to meet their reduction mandates could be fined up to $10,000 a day until they come into compliance.
A second phase of the county's tire program will create two ``amnesty days'' that allow households to make reservations to dump up to five tires for free at the two landfills operated by the Ventura Regional Sanitation District, and the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center.
The tires will be collected by BAS Recycling Inc., a Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., company that processes tires into crumb rubber for molded rubber products, tracks and playground surfaces.
Although that phase of the program will help rid the county of small scrap tire piles, Mr. Goldstein emphasized the goal of the second phase is to target scrap tire producers with source-reduction information.
He said Ventura County generates about 500,000 scrap tires each year. Just what happens to those tires will be tracked through a study the county has coupled to the reduction program.
With solid scrap-tire tracking information, the county hopes to attract waste management and recycling firms to the area, creating additional markets for recycled tires.
``If no one uses a recycled product, you're not really recycling,'' Mr. Warren said. ``You're just collecting and processing, and that doesn't solve the problem.''