To Darold Schaefer, owner of R&R Tire in North Mankato, his annual tire collection effort has a dual purpose.
First (and foremost) he's giving people who need to get rid of their unwanted tires an affordable way to do so — for just $1.50 per tire, R&R will take them, which saves you the hassle of finding a legal way to dispose of what, technically, is a hazardous substance.
Schaefer's other reason? Mosquitoes.
"I don't like swatting them little buggers," he said, "and I'm willing to chip in to get rid of 'em."
Tires are known harborers of, and prime birthing grounds for, Minnesota's unofficial state bird. A tire left out in the rain is an attractive place for mosquitoes to lay eggs. And lay they do. That black rubber heats up and provides an ideal incubator for larvae.
Tires are made with petroleum, and so cannot be disposed of in the way you'd dispose of regular household waste. They must be properly disposed of. Typically county hazardous waste collection facilities will accept tires for a fee.
But there probably aren't any cheaper tire collection programs out there than the one being done by Schaefer at R&R.
Car and light truck tires — off rim only — go for $1.50 per tire (which is about what it costs Schaeffer to deal with them.) Every other month the fee is $3. He'll take bigger tires, too. Bigger tires will cost more depending on the size. (Call R&R at 345-6040 to find out how much.)
Schaefer's tire collection started at the beginning of May and so far about 1,000 tires have been collected. He'll typically get over a thousand, although one year he pulled in 5,900.
Tires brought in during the drive range from nearly or brand new (which will generally prompt Schaefer to offer to buy it) to tires that have been rotting for years in a farmer's field.