Thursday, April 17, 2014

Proposed Tire Ordinance

Kudos to any person who addresses Laredo's problem with dumped tires.  We see them all over the place:  discarded on curbs, on abandoned locales, and even piling up on private property.  At the very minimum they are a blight on the landscape; but they have the potential to become a health hazard given the right conditions.  Naturally the city wants to act. Their efforts, however, seem a little naive.



The proposal is to charge people money when they take their old tires home. Nationally known auto shops provide disposal services and impose a fee.  At the Sears Automotive department, I was charged a $3.50 disposal fee per tire recently.  I could've saved seven dollars if I hauled them off myself and later dumped them at the city landfill for free, but that would've cost me time and gas money.

At locally-owned tire shops (vulcanizadoras), attendants have typically handed over responsibility of the old tires to the customer.  The less clutter they can amass at their shops, the better.  (I haven't frequented all tire shops in town so I can't speak to their practices as a whole)  With the new ordinance, if it takes effect, those shop owners would charge a fee on top of their regular cost.  This makes no sense to me, because, first of all, the business of buying tires is between the client and the salesman, and both are looking for the most beneficial outcome -- the business owner is not going to risk losing his clientele by adding a cost to his customers, and the patron does not want to lose the option of saving a little money.

And then comes the issue of enforcement.  Perhaps it's not impossible to check up on tire retailers to see if they're following the ordinance, but I would assume they'd have a lot of room to sidestep the rule.

The proposed ordinance could make a dent in the tire trash problem.  We could measure its effectiveness over time.  I just don't see it working from where I'm sitting now.  Ya veremos.

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