Tire Recycling: what happens to old tires & why you should recycle them

4 solid reasons everyone should be recycling those old car tires

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When it comes to driving green, we don’t often think about tires. Gas emissions and fuel economy are top of mind for sustainability, but what happens to tires when we’re done with them?

According to the Globe and Mail, roughly 98% of discarded tires stay out of landfills every year thanks to recycling. The life of a tire doesn’t end when it’s taken off the road. If they are no longer suitable for regular use, they don’t need to end up spending the remainder of their lives in landfills.

5 good reasons to always recycle old tires

There are more than a few benefits to properly disposing of your used tires. Without recycling, old tires often end up in landfills, polluting wildlife habitats and filling oceans and lakes. Here are some green benefits:

1. Reduce pollution and energy consumption

For every tire taking up space in a landfill, more carbon emissions get added to the atmosphere. By finding new uses, we can cut down on harmful landfill pollution for a greener earth. As a bonus, the overall size of our landfills is cut down drastically without the footprint disposed tires take up.

2. Old becomes new

Instead of sourcing new material for products like children’s playgrounds, recycled tires can be re-purposed for materials. Why use new materials when we can re-purpose old ones?

3. Prevent disease spread

Discarded tires serve as the perfect home for disease carrying animals like rats and birds to move into. According to CBC.ca, they also collect stagnant water and act as a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes. By properly disposing of them, we can reduce disease spread.

In addition, the Chicago Tribune reports within a single breeding season, one tire can produce more than 10,000 adult mosquitoes. Just one more worthy reason to start recycling.

4. Cost-effective

Despite myths about tire recycling being expensive, it’s actually quite low in cost. In provinces where the recycling fee isn’t already included in the purchase of your new tires, the average fee across Canada sits at $3-$5. At the cost of a couple coffees, why not put the money towards sustainable disposal?

What happens to recycled tires anyways?

1. Fuel

We’ve heard about turning french fry oil into gas, but did you know your discarded tires can also be turned into fuel? According to MSN Canada, the materials from old tires can be distilled for marine and heating fuel, similar to recycled waste oils. Why waste old tires when they can fuel future vehicles?

2. Construction materials

Tire materials can be re-purposed into scraps for road repair and backfill for retaining walls. Steel, which is incorporated into a small percentage of the tire, can be extracted and melted down for use in construction and building use.

3. Remolded tires

The obvious use for worn-out tires is to turn the old into the new. The rubber from your disposed tires can be used to create new tires, giving it new life.

4. Community use

One of the most common ways tires are recycled is in rubberized asphalt, surfacing for children’s playground, mulch and flooring. This way of giving back to the community shows how a little recycling can go a long way towards sustainable living.

Tire recycling programs & facilities near me

Luckily, it’s easy to recycle your tires across North America. With recycling programs across the country, there’s no excuse to improperly dispose of your tires.

You may notice a fee is required to recycle them. This disposal/recycling fee is collected on used tires so that non-profit organizations (like the Tire Stewardship BC, for example) can divert old rubber from landfills and put them back to good use in the community. 100% of fees collected are used for the operation of the scrap tire recycling program. 

In the United States, here’s a list of tire cycling companies across the country.

In Canada, OK Tire works with local recycling programs and tire disposal services across the country to ensure they don’t end up in landfills, instead finding new homes in their communities. With recycling, Canadians can be assured that their tires will be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner and stay out of landfills.

Want to find out where to recycle and if there’s a fee? Check out the below list to find out how your old tires are being given a new life in your province.