You’ve removed your old, worn-out tires and you have no idea what to do with them now. Throwing them in a dumpster might be the first thing that comes to mind. But that’s against the law in most states. The good news is that there are better ways to dispose of old tires.
Usually, you can get rid of your old tires for free, and there are many ways to go about that. In other cases, you might have to pay a small fee for recycling services.
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Old Tire Disposal: The Problem
Americans dispose of about 300 million tires a year. If everyone got rid of them the way they wanted, we would have an ecological disaster on our hands. To prevent such a scenario, states have strict laws on how to dispose of old tires properly.
In general, it’s illegal to throw away your tires like any other trash. That’s because tires take up a lot of space in landfills. Plus, they are not biodegradable.
On top of that, stockpiles of old tires are extremely unsafe and can pose health risks. In most cases, tire fires are the biggest concern because they create lots of air pollution, and it’s difficult to put them out.
Also, discarded tires are a perfect breeding ground for insects and rodents. So, if you have spare tires lying around your yard, you should get rid of them as soon as possible.
What Not to Do with Old Tires
In a nutshell, tires are harmful to the environment. Materials used to make them are not ecological. After all, rubber, which is not so eco-friendly, is the main compound. Plus, tires are durable, which makes it difficult to manage them as regular waste.
Keeping that in mind, here are some tips on what you shouldn’t do with your old tires.
Don’t Throw Old Tires in the Trash
Throwing away old tires like regular trash is illegal in some states. That’s because tires are not allowed in landfills anymore.
If you throw them away in a dumpster, for example, you might get fined, but that will depend on the laws in your state. On top of that, your local waste management service will simply refuse to take your old tires.
Don’t Leave Old Tires Lying Around Your Yard
It’s dangerous to let old tires sit in your yard or garage for a long time. Obviously, they can easily catch on fire, and putting out tire fires is not at all easy. That’s because tires trap flammable gases — most commonly methane.
Also, mosquitoes that can carry diseases thrive in worn-out, discarded tires. So, you might be putting yourself and your family in harm’s way if you leave your old tires in the sun for a long time.
Don’t Burn Your Old Tires
Some people think that setting their old tires on fire would solve the disposal issue. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Burning old tires in open areas is against the law. On top of that, tire fires will produce a lot of toxic smoke that is harmful to people. Plus, the fire will burn for a long time, so extinguishing it can be a daunting task.
Recycling Old Tires
Recycling is the best way to deal with old tires. There are many uses for spent tires that you might not be aware of:
- In the cement production industry, discarded tires are used as fuel.
- Recycled old tire parts are common in construction materials.
- Basketball courts and shoes often contain recycled tires.
- In road construction, spent tires are used to make asphalt.
- Steel manufacturers use old tires as a fuel substitute for coal.
In general, old tires can be used to make virtually any kind of rubber product. In other words, recycling or reusing old tires is a great way to keep the environment clean.
How to Dispose of Old Tires: 8 Options
Most people don’t store used tires. That’s because repair shops usually keep the old tires after you have them replaced. But if you prefer replacing tires yourself, you’ll need to get rid of them somehow. Here are some tips on how to do it.
1. Take Your Old Tires to a Tire Shop
The first place you should take your old tires is your local tire repair shop. In most cases, they will take your old tires for free if you become a paying customer.
If the shop doesn’t keep your old tires, you might have to pay them for recycling services. All in all, it’s better to let them deal with your old tires, even if you have to pay extra. They probably know how to dispose of them properly, or they will send them to a recycling center for you. That’s great because you won’t have to deal with old tires down the road.
2. Call Your Local Tire Stores
Tire stores should be your next stop when trying to dispose of old tires. Since they know everything about tires, they could give you valuable information about tire disposal practices. So, if you’re not sure what to do, try asking them.
Plus, most tire stores will take your old tires for free if you buy new ones from them. Also, check to see if they are in the business of buying used tires. In some cases, if your tires are in good condition, tire stores will buy them from you and resell them.
Just don’t expect to make a lot of money when selling your old tires to tire shops. They ultimately need to make a profit, so you might not get much money in return. In hindsight, you’ll leave with more money in your pocket than you had when you walked into the store. Plus, you won’t have to pay for recycling services.
3. Call the Tire Manufacturer
Try getting in touch with the company that made your tires. Most often, you can find the name of the company on the tire itself.
Know that some tire manufacturers have recycling programs. In some cases, you can drop your old tires off at their stores, or mail them to the company for recycling. Usually, the company won’t charge you for recycling services.
4. Get in Touch with Your Local Waste Management Company
If you leave your old tires by the curb, garbage trucks won’t pick them up. That’s because tires are not allowed in landfills.
So, if you don’t have any other options, call your waste management company to ask them if they can take your old tires for recycling. In any case, they might at least be able to point you in the right direction.
In some states, you can dump your old tires in a landfill only if you shred them beforehand. But, be sure to check your local laws, so you don’t get in trouble for unknowingly doing something illegal.
5. Get in Touch with Your Local Recycling Center
If you live in a town or city that has a local recycling center, reach out and ask them what kind of items they recycle. Some recycling centers only deal with certain types of materials. So, since tire recycling is subject to strict regulations, not all recycling centers will accept old tires.
For help, try searching Earth911 to find out if any recycling centers near you would take your old tires.
6. Sell Your Old Tires
If your tires are still usable or undamaged, try selling them to someone else. For instance, you can place an ad on Craigslist or some other classified websites that specialize in tire sales. That way, you can even make a quick buck from your old tires.
7. Recycle Old Tires Yourself
You can recycle your old tires yourself if you don’t want to sell or throw them away. For example, if you are into landscaping, you can shred your old tires to make rubber mulch and use it for soil insulation. Also, rubber mulch is common on playgrounds. It’s often used to make the ground softer to protect kids from injuries if they fall.
8. Community Tire Collection Events
It’s not uncommon for local communities to organize tire collection events. If there is such an event in your town or city, consider attending it and leaving your tires there.
Most often, the purpose of such community collection events is to reduce illegal tire disposal. So, you might be able to get rid of your tires for free or for a symbolic fee.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many ways to dispose of used tires and protect the environment at the same time. That being said, you should never set your tires on fire, or throw them away like any other trash. Tires are not eco-friendly and, in most states, it’s illegal to dump them anywhere.
In general, you’ll want to recycle your old tires. But, if that’s not an option, you can try to sell them to someone else if they are in good condition.
Also, most repair shops or tire stores will take the old tires off your back if you buy new tires from them. In my opinion, that’s a win-win situation for everyone. They will get your business, and you won’t have to pay for tire recycling services.
Even if you have to pay a small fee, it’s better to just do it than to let your old tires pollute the environment for no reason.
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