Why Should I Recycle My Tires?

March 15, 2017 | Recycling, Tires

tire recycling

We have all been taught the importance of recycling.

Taking care of our planet will not only benefit us, it will benefit future generations.

It has become an unwritten rule of society that we recycle whenever possible. We frequently see recycling bins designated for paper, plastic, glass and even metal, encouraging us to properly dispose of our waste. There is plenty of focus and emphasis on making sure that we are doing our part to “reduce, reuse and recycle.”

But what about tires? That is one we don’t talk about very often. What do we do when we are ready to dispose of them?

More than 300 million tires are scrapped in the United States each year. That is an astounding average of just about one per person! You may wonder where all these tires go. Well, some people leave them in the backyard, shed or garage. Some people take them to a local landfill. Some people even illegally dump them in forested areas and other remote locations.

The reasons for these actions are usually associated with the price and inconvenience of having to recycle the tire. But those who are environmentally responsible will make sure that their old tires are properly disposed of or repurposed for personal projects.

This is important because tires are not biodegradable; they do not break down easily. Some scientists estimate that a tire can take hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose.

In addition to this, tires have significant negative space. They take up a lot of room and are known to rise to the top of landfills, where they can become the breeding grounds for mosquitoes or homes to rodents and snakes.

Tires can also result in dangerous tire fires, which are very difficult to put out and can be uncontrollable. These fires are particularly bad because they produce heavy, dark smoke filled with toxins that pollute the air. Tires that are burned also leave behind an oily substance, which can pollute the ground and water sources.

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the destiny of every (or any) tire. Tires that are recycled are given a second life with the opportunity to fulfill a variety of other important purposes.

Many old tires are shredded and used for fuel. It is estimated that the average tire contains about five gallons of oil. These shredded tires can also be used as rubber mulch, which is a great alternative to wood chips in gardens, planters and playgrounds.

In addition to this, tires can be shredded even smaller into a substance known as crumb rubber. This substance is used in creations such as rubber-modified asphalt, running tracks and artificial playing fields, just to name a few.

Other tires will be retreaded and reused, while others will be utilized for various civil engineering projects. Some will find new life as water tanks because of their durability, and many more will be repurposed in numerous different ways. These repurposed tires include outdoor, home-improvement and even art projects.

Of course, taking care of your car tires through regular rotation and inspection is one way to reduce the frequency of tire disposal. But even this will not prevent your tires from eventually reaching the inevitable end of life.

Our hope is that when that day comes, you will understand exactly why you should choose to recycle your old tires. We also hope that you will then responsibly act on that knowledge.

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