What Happens To The Tires You Send In to Recycle?

February 6, 2019 | Recycling, Tires

Today, old tires are considered to be an extremely valuable resource. That wasn’t the case just a couple of generations ago.  As recently as the early 90s, most towns and cities had huge mountains of used tires just sitting in landfills. Not only were these eyesores, but they also presented environmental hazards and harbored pests as well.

Today the tire mountains of old are a rare sight, as old tires are now a highly-prized resource used for a wide variety of applications. Today, you’ll find repurposed tire products in your home and all around your neighborhood and workplace. We’re not just talking about playgrounds either. Here are just some places you’ll find old tires.

1.) Shoes

You may know that people all over the world have been making shoe soles and sandals out of old tires for over a century. What you might not know is that this practice isn’t necessarily restricted to small-time cobblers and other craftsmen.

The rubber in tires is incredibly robust and stable, which means that you can use ground up tires to make new products, including shoe soles. Many shoe sole manufacturers routinely add a bit of tire rubber to make their products more durable and economical to manufacture. Others, including many recognized brands, make shoes and shoe soles entirely of recycled tires.

2.) Yoga mats

Similar to shoe soles, many yoga mat manufacturers use a portion of ground-up tires in their products to improve wear resistance, control the hardness and density of different mats, and reduce the cost of manufacture. Sustainable practices are also important to most of the yoga community, which makes the use of old tires in yoga mats and similar products quite prevalent.

3.) Playgrounds and sports fields

We’re not just talking about tire swings or obstacle courses either. Ground-up tires are now increasingly used in and around playground equipment, under artificial turf, and along running tracks to improve safety and prevent injuries while reducing maintenance costs.  You will definitely rather take a spill on a bed of tire chips than on clay and gravel or frozen dirt!

Compared to wood chips or gravel, tire chips also require much less maintenance and remain springy and safe to use for years. Another major advantage of using tire chips is that they can prevent cumulative injuries to joints that are quite common among both athletes and casual exercisers alike.

4.) Fuel

With concerns that our current use of fossil fuels is becoming more and more unsustainable, tires are now being used more and more as an alternative fuel source by factories all over the country. They provide roughly the same amount of energy as petroleum and pack even more energy than coal, by weight.

Generally speaking, it’s not safe to burn tires in just any furnace. However, modern technologies that burn tires cleanly and efficiently have allowed tires to become a truly green, sustainable energy source. Though you shouldn’t expect to see tires being used as fuel around your neighborhood soon, you are probably now enjoying a wide variety of items in your home produced by factories fueled by old tires

5.)  Asphalt

When used as a component of asphalt roads, tire chips can make them quieter, more durable, and less expensive to construct and maintain. The reduction in noise pollution is quite significant and can improve the quality of life of people living along highways.  This also reduces the disruption to the lives of wildlife that may be living near populated areas.


While long embraced by different industries, recycled tires are now also beginning to be widely seen as a valuable resource by the public at large. Companies like Western Tire Recyclers are leading the way in safely recycling and repurposing tires of all sizes to materials and items that improve our quality of life.

Please Leave a Comment