tire recycling

Tire recycling can eliminate piles of waste tires like these shown here.

In 2009, only 35 percent of the tires sold in the United States were recycled. All those tires that aren’t being recycled are just laying around in landfills and junkyards, posing a huge hazard to the environment and providing a home to vermin. Tires in these stockpiles are also prone to heat retention, so they can ignite, creating tire fires that are difficult to extinguish. These tire fires can burn for months, generating unhealthy smoke and toxic oils. For these reasons, most states have passed scrap tire regulations requiring proper management.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, here is a summary of the laws in the United States regarding the proper disposal of tires:

  • 38 states ban whole tires from landfills.
  • 35 states allow shredded tires to be placed in landfills.
  • 11 states ban all tires from landfills.
  • 17 states allow processed tires to be placed into monofills.
  • 8 states have no restrictions on placing scrap tires in landfills.
Tires are very durable, which makes them hard to break down. However, a tire’s durability also makes it easy for them to be reused and recycled. When recycled, tires are used for fuel, civil engineering projects, or are converted into ground rubber and other products. Some of these tires end up getting retreaded and going to other countries, like Mexico and Japan.
So, what can you do about this? How can you keep tires out of landfills, or reuse them so they last longer. One thing to try is nitrogen tire inflation. Using nitrogen in the tires has been found to extend the life of the tire and to improve fuel efficiency. By using your tires for a longer period of time with one small change, that means in the long run, you’ll be consuming less tires and putting less tires in the landfill. It also means that you’ll save money in the long run, because that’s less money you’ll have to spend on tires and on gas. More money in your pocket while less tires end up in the landfills? Not bad at all.
No one person can keep all the tires out of landfills, but everyone can do something. That easy something that everyone can do is to put nitrogen in their tires instead of regular air. It’s good for you, it’s good for the tires, and it’s good for the environment.