How to Recycle Tires

Tires are one of the coolest products to recycle because they can be turned into such a wide variety of products. Your flat tire could end up burned off as fuel, turned into playground equipment or even used to make artificial turf.

Sponsored by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.

Tire Recycling Preparation

  1. Before disposing of tires, ask an auto shop if your old tires can be retreaded or repaired. Either option prolongs the life of your tires and is cheaper than buying new tires.
  2. If you are having tires replaced at an auto shop, ask if the shop will recycle the old tires for you. Depending on where you live, the cost of new tires may include a tax that funds the disposal of your old tires, or disposal may be included in the service charge.
  3. If recycling tires yourself, you’ll need to remove the rim and wheel weights first. Luckily, the rim is made of aluminum and the weights are made of steel — both valuable metals you can recycle as scrap. Warning: You should have experience using power tools if you’re going to cut the tire off the rim yourself. Please exercise caution.
  4. Before recycling tires, consider a reuse project for them. Besides the obvious option of making a tire swing, they make great planters in your garden or compost bins.

Why Recycle Tires

  • We dispose of 300 million tires per year in the U.S. — almost one per person.
  • Tires in a landfill trap water that attracts rodents and mosquitoes. They also consume a lot of space, trap methane emissions and create a fire risk — and tire fires are difficult to extinguish.
  • One of the leading uses for recycled tires is tire-derived fuel (TDF). TDF is an alternative to fossil fuels and produces 25 percent more energy than coal.

Find a drop-off location for tires near you using the Recycling Locator.

Find recycling guides for other materials

Frequent Tires Recycling Questions

Additional Reading