KBB wants Scouts to pick up tires

Great American Cleanup coming up in April

Scout’s honor.

That slogan indicating high moral standards among kids in uniform doing good deeds points toward a local organization’s plan for handling tires collected from creekbeds, fields and roadsides throughout April.

April is the month of the Great American Cleanup. Keep Blair Beautiful will take advantage of free landfill disposal of cleanup rubbish, as arranged by its parent organization, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, according to Katrina Pope, education and enforcement coordinator for the Intermunicipal Relations Committee, which staffs the local group.

But that free disposal doesn’t extend to tires, which are costly to get rid of, Pope said.

To avoid giving the green light to those who might think to give their own discarded tires a free ride by delivering them along with those collected in community cleanups, Keep Blair Beautiful plans to roll out the Scouts.

“We wanted that honesty factor,” Pope said Thursday. “We didn’t want Uncle Ed’s tires, who doesn’t want to pay.”

Uncle Ed can bring his old tires for disposal to People’s Natural Gas Field on April 28, where KBB will hold a community collection of tires, electronics and more.

But he’ll need to pay $1 each for tire 14 inches or smaller off the rim; $2 if they’re on a rim; $4 for larger tires — up to 4 feet — and $2 more if they’re on the rim; and more for tires bigger than 4 feet, according to an event flyer. Disposal for electronics and appliances ranges from free to $10 each.

April 28 is also the day set for a cleanup of Little Juniata River tributaries organized by the Altoona Water Authority, the Blair County Conservation District, the IRC and KBB.

Regular cleanup volunteers that day will leave the tires they find alone, letting the Scouts round them up, according to Pope.

The tires collected by the Scouts will end up in the same tractor-trailer at the ballpark as those brought to the park that day by members of the community.

KBB will pay the tire recycler $100 a ton, with help from a Department of Environmental Protection grant.

Pope is hoping the idea of helping gains traction with Scout leaders — including leaders of Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts.

A couple of leaders have already expressed interest.

Troops can arrange to participate by calling Pope at the IRC office, 942-7472, or sending her an email at kpope@ircenvironment.org.

Such community service is in line with the mission of the Scouts, Pope said.

KBB tried to recruit the Scouts to collect tires last year and the year before, but those efforts went flat, Pope said.

Scouts — or other groups doing cleanups — at other times during April can get in touch with Pope to arrange for storage of collected tires until the tractor-trailer is available at the ballpark April 28, Pope said.

To pump up the importance of the work in the Scouts’ consciousness, KBB plans to make the tire roundup competitive.

There will be a trophy for the most successful troop, she indicated.

The KBB board discussed involving religious youth groups in the tire collection but figured they’d be harder to identify and contact, Pope said.

To get free disposal for collected rubbish, cleanup organizers must register their efforts as Great American Cleanup events, Pope said.

Normally, the spring tire and electronics collection event at the ballpark and the AWA cleanup are on separate days, Pope said.

That couldn’t happen this year, because April 28 was the only Saturday that month when the ballpark was available, she said.

Because the events draw from a common pool of volunteers, KBB fears that one or both might be short of manpower.

“(So) we’re putting out a call for volunteers,” she said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.