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Tires are non-degradable. Therefore, they can’t be disposed of like other consumer products. So, how are tires disposed of? This article has the answers.

Waste or scrap tires can be disposed of in several ways. They can be shredded, forming small rubber pieces, which can be used as a paving material for surfaces or as rubber mulch. Tires can also be used whole without shredding to make eco-friendly homes, environmental defense systems or footwear.

In this article, we will take a closer at how tires are disposed of. We will walk you through the different ways that old tires are recycled and used. And by the time you finish reading this article, you will have all the answers that you have been looking for about how tires are disposed of.

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Table of Contents

About Old Tires

Approximately 300 million waste tires are produced in the U.S every year. So, where do all these waste tires go? A couple of years back, all old tires were disposed of in landfills while some were burnt.

But as mentioned earlier, tires are non-biodegradable. With time, these old tires started accumulating in landfills, thus ending up consuming large amounts of usable space. Also, they became breeding grounds for various pests.

Today, most of the waste tires produced in the U.S are successfully recycled. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 80% of old tires are recycled every year, thus reducing a burden to the environment.

Practical Uses of Recycled Tires

When you replace your worn-out tires with a new set, you have two options. You can decide to carry the tires with you and find a use for them in your home or you can leave them with the dealer, to recycle them for you.

If you decide to leave the tire with the dealer to recycle them for you, they will be shipped to commercial tire reprocessing plants. And from there, they will be treated with certain chemicals, thus converting them into a reusable material. Some of the products that are made with recycled rubber from tires include:

Rubber Modified Asphalt

Rubber modified asphalt refers to a mixture of ground rubber and paving grade asphalt cement. So, instead of tires being thrown away, they are ground into small pieces and then mixed with hot paving grade asphalt.

This asphalt can then be used to pave walkways, driveways, pavements and other minor paving jobs.

Recreational Surfaces

There’s a high chance you may have come across recycled rubber on recreational surfaces such as playgrounds. Well, its application on such surfaces has been growing every year.

The addition of ground rubber on such surfaces helps to enhance their shock-absorption capabilities. It helps to reduce the force of impact whenever the feet strike the ground when jumping or running.

Individual Construction Products

Ground rubber from recycled tires can also be added to various construction components such as dock bumpers, floors, tiles, speed bumps, railroad tires and curbs. Ground rubber may also be missed with plastic to create items such as warehouse pallets.

Rubber Mulch

Old tires are also used to make rubber mulch, which is increasingly gaining popularity in the landscaping industry. Some people prefer rubber mulch instead of conventional mulch because it doesn’t decompose, thus reducing the need for regular mulching. Hence, it will help to promote water retention while reducing fungus, mildew and mold.

Tire-Derived Fuel

Tire-derived fuel or TDF is a type of fuel made from shredded waste tires. The shredded tires can then be mixed with coal, wood or other types of fuels. Once it has been formulated, the fuel is then burned to provide fuel for power plants, paper mills or concrete kilns, just to name a few.

In the U.S, approximately 43% of waste tires were converted into TDF in 2017, again helping to reduce the burden of scrap tires on the environment. According to the EPA, provides a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

The EPA promotes the use of tires as tire-derived fuel since they produce a comparable amount of energy like oil while producing a higher level than coal. Furthermore, the ash produced when tires are used as TDF may contain quantities of heavy metals, compared to coal. Besides, they produce lower emissions, compared to most of the coals used in the U.S.

Other Uses of Old Tires

While most of the recycled tires are ground into rubber, old tires can also be used without shredding them. Some of the common uses of old un-shredded tires include:

Eco-Friendly Homes

Old tires are also used to make eco-friendly homes. To make homes, old tires are first filled with earth, which is then compressed. After that, a layer of concrete is added, which helps to secure the tire.

Eco-friendly tires made with old tires are quite common in third-world countries, especially in areas where building materials are hard to source or costly.


Some people also use tires to make footwear. The rubber used to make these tires can be stamped and then cut with precision, to add a degree of sportiness on sandals and sports sneakers.

Environmental Defense Systems

Packed old tires can also provide sturdy, reliable and strong barriers against the elements. These old tires are first placed in areas that need protection against the elements. They are then filled with earth, thus making them heavy and unmovable. They can be used as blasting mats, flood barriers, wave action systems, rainwater run-offs, erosion control measures or bridge abutments, just to name a few.

Wrapping It Up

As you can see, tires can be recycled and used in various ways. They can be used as a paving material for surfaces, as rubber mulch or even as fuel for large industrial plants. Also, tires can be used to make various structures like eco-friendly homes, as well as environmental defense systems, just to name a few.

How Are Tires Disposed Of?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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