How to Recycle Tires

Tires are designed to be practically indestructible — a great thing for cars, but historically it’s made them more difficult to recycle. Fortunately, the recycling options are only getting better. Through processes like ambient shredding and cryogenic grinding, tires can be turned into products including synthetic turf, playground surfaces and road embankments.

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Frequent Tires Recycling Questions

Used tires disposal policies and regulations vary widely from state to state. More than half of U.S. states do not allow tires to be dropped off at landfills. To recycle your used tires, take them to a local recycling facility or tire retailer. If you are taking tires back to a retailer, you may have to pay a small fee. Please check with your local municipality or jump to the recycling locator to find locations near you.
Once worn-out tires are taken off automobiles, they are considered scrap tires. In the past, these tires were often dumped illegally in lakes, abandoned lots, and along the side of the road, but today, 90 percent get a new life — used in playground cover, building materials, erosion control and even alternative fuel. The possibilities grow every day — for example, a company called EcoBorder has figured out how to use scrap tires to make garden hedging.

The non-rubber portions of the tire are also recycled, according to For instance, the steel beads that give the tire its shape and structure are processed into specification-grade product used by steel mills for new steel.

Some practical uses for old tires in your backyard or garden include DIY garden beds or ponds, tire swings, mulch and animal feeders. There are plenty of creative tire reuse ideas you can tackle if you’re up for the challenge. (If you’re not, find a recycler near you and let someone else do the work!)

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