Eye-popping numbers: State removed 20,900 scrap tires and over 4100 tons of garbage from Red Mountain Park

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Red Mountain Park
Red Mountain Park staff collecting scrap tires. Photo courtesy of Red Mountain Park.

Thanks to the Alabama Department of Environmental  Management  (ADEM), Red Mountain Park (RMP) is a great deal greener today. According to a Red Mountain Park news release, ADEM has removed an eye-popping 20,900 scrap tires and over  4100 tons of garbage from the park over the last seven months.

One of the state’s most successful environmental cleanup programs, the Alabama Scrap Tire Cleanup Fund was created in 2003  to remove scrap tires and trash from the state’s landscape. Funding from the project comes from $1.00 per tire fee on all replacement tires sold.

Staggering numbers

This week, ADEM released the final Red Mountain Park cleanup numbers:

—20,900 tires were removed from the Park.
—4,197 tons of solid waste were also removed. This included everything from mattresses to brick piles to glass.
—The project utilized funding from the Alabama Scrap Tire Fund for a total cost of $302,466.00.

Example before tire cleanup:

Red Mountain tire cleanup – Before. Photo courtesy of Red Mountain Park.

After tire cleanup

Photo courtesy of Red Mountain Park.


To put this into perspective,  Alabamians throw away on average, about a ton of solid waste per person, every calendar year.  Imagine, over 4197 people throwing away their trash everyday for an entire year into the 1500 acre park.

The removal of scrap tires from the park was also not an easy task. Many of the tires were thrown down Red Mountain’s steep ravines making it difficult to collect and remove.

So, why did the Park need such massive tire and debris removal? According to RMP, when the last mining companies left Red Mountain in the 1960s, the land that is now Red Mountain Park was mostly unsupervised. Many individuals and groups took advantage of the property and began to regularly dump truck loads of tires and other debris. In decades past, there was little legislation or education on what you could or should do with scrap tires. The dumping went on for decades, until the creation of Red Mountain Park occurred.

RMP’s Natural Resources Director, Rachel Ahrnsen, summed up the importance of this project for the future of Red Mountain Park.

“ADEM’s Scrap Tire removal project at Red Mountain Park was an important step in transforming land that was formerly used for mining and trash dumping into a beautiful natural space. It would have taken Park staff and volunteers decades to remove such an enormous amount of tires and trash. ADEM’s efforts will allow the Park to move forward with its forest restoration goals in order to create a better Park for both wildlife and Park guests.”

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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