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March 26, 2014

THE US-MEXICO BORDER TIRE CYCLE

Dana Link-Herrera
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Tijuana River Valley

You just purchased a brand new set of tires for your car, and you may have noticed that along with the price of the tire comes a $2.75 tire recycling fee. While most fees are universally loathed, this might be one you can get along with, after all, it seems like it is for a good cause.

But what do you do when you find out that the tire recycling fee is not being used to recycle tires at all?

Rather than recycling old tires, the California government has approved the sale of these used tires in Baja California. The tires are then used to the last possible shreds of their driving life, which is generally only a short time longer, and then discarded and often used for unreliable construction projects. 

Before long, the tires end up strewn along hillsides, embankments, rivers and roads of Baja, where they spend months to years. If not picked up, eventually the tires make their way to critical wildlife habitat and into the ocean. Those that are collected are burned or buried in Baja, resulting in a flurry of other harmful effects.

Additionally, many of these tires find their way back to the US side of the border and into California via the many tributaries of the Tijuana River. Once back in the US, the tires flood into Border Field State Park, and later, the Tijuana River Mouth Marine Protected Area.

No one is recycling these tires on which you have already paid a recycling fee. Meanwhile, Cal Recycle has accumulated between $40 and $50 million in the recycling fund.

Watch our Telemundo story here. 

It's time to end this destructive tire cycle.