Despite the recent advances made in tire recycling technology and reusing scrap rubber, the question of what to do with old tires still plagues many of us. Most waste haulers and landfills will not accept tires anymore. If they do, there is usually a limit to the number that they will allow you to bring at once. Due to their toxic nature and tendency to float to the top of garbage piles, burying them with other household waste is not a good solution, anyway.
Most auto shops will dispose of your worn out tires for a fee when you buy a new set. While nobody likes added fees, paying the modest tire disposal tax is usually your best option. Unless you have plans to reuse your tires, you are best off leaving them at the shop. Before you do, however, ask where they send their tires. If they truck them to a landfill rather than recycling them, you might want to reconsider your decision. Try contacting the tire manufacturer. Some companies offer tire take back or mail back programs that ultimately get used tires to recycling plants.
What if I am not buying new tires?
It is best to find a tire recycling plant where you can drop off your tires. Unfortunately, the closest facility to your location may still be a long drive away. Before you give up, check with other recyclers in your area. Some of them do accept limited quantities of tires for processing. You can also ask your waste management company if they take tires and how they dispose of them. There may be options closer to home.
Your local tire shop may also be a useful resource. Many are willing to accept your old tires for a fee even if you are not buying tires from them. They may charge you anywhere from $5-$20 per tire, but this small fee is better than being slapped with a hefty fine for illegal dumping. As a bonus, you get to regain the space in your garage that the tires have been occupying.
You may also be able to recycle your tires through a community-sponsored event. Local waste management or non-profit organizations offer recycling events for homeowners needing to dispose of electronics, hazardous waste, or even tires from time to time. The right Google search may reveal an event nearby that can assist with your rubber tire recycling.
What if I have stacks of tires to get rid of?
For many people, their tire problem is more significant than figuring out what to do with the last four tires they owned. If you fall in this category, you may have dozens of tires that have accumulated over the years from repairs to farm equipment, motorcycles, and trucks. Perhaps, you inherited a tire collection from a previous homeowner or family member.
When the problem grows beyond a single set of tires, it becomes more difficult to rectify. In many states, regulations require a special license to transport large numbers of tires. Check with local authorities regarding the laws in your state. If you have more tires than you can relocate on your own, you may need to call a scrap tire hauler or junk removal service. These companies will come to you and do all of the heavy lifting and moving. Before hiring someone, however, you will want to ask if their pricing is based on the number of tires or the weight of the tires removed.
Also, make sure that the end destination for your waste is acceptable to you. Will the company invest the time and effort necessary to get them to a tire shredder business or some other tire recycling organization?
What can I do with my tires that won’t cost me money?
There are many easy DIY projects that use old car and truck tires. Here are just a few.
• Tire Swing
Although they may not be as common as they once were, tire swings are a classic way to reuse an old tire. It takes very little in the way of tools and skills to build one as well. However, without a good, strong tree in the yard, you may have to build a sturdy A-frame structure to support the swing first. A horizontal swing made of a large truck tire can be a lot of fun for kids.
• Flower Garden
If a swing no longer falls under your definition of fun, you might prefer using your tires to build a flower garden. Mounted on the side of a barn, you can plant flowers inside the lower third of the tire. Alternatively, you can use the tires to make a raised planter bed. The larger the tire, the larger your planting area will be. Painting the outer surface of the tire can add another pop of color to your garden. Remember that tires do release chemicals into the soil. For this reason, you should not grow fruits or vegetables inside old tires.
• Outdoor Ottoman
There is nothing better than relaxing outside and putting your feet up at the end of the day. With a little dressing up, a tire can work well as a foot support. To pull this project off, you will need a few power tools, however. By attaching a circular piece of MDF to the top and bottom of the tire, you can create a sturdy surface. Next, wrap the tire from the midpoint up in rope so that it resembles a rope basket.
However you choose to deal with your tire trash, it is important to the environment and future generations to make responsible decisions. Companies like ECO Green Equipment have developed cutting edge tire shredding machines to quickly and easily break down tires into recyclable components. Their goal is to keep these non-biodegradable products from filling up our landfills and contaminating our soil.