Don’t Tread On Me

Historically, discarded tires were stockpiled or thrown into landfills, which breeds mosquitoes and rodents. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2003 numbers, tires generate two percent of the total solid waste in the U.S. While 290 million tires are generated each year, 80 percent are recycled for fuel and other uses.

Thirty-eight states have banned whole tires from going to landfills; 35 allow shredded tires to be placed in landfills; 11 ban all tires from landfills; and eight states have no restrictions on placing scrap tires in landfills. But since 48 states have some sort of regulation or laws dealing with scrap tires, you are probably already affected.

What do you do with those used up tires from your trucks? A few of you may work with your local landfills or tire companies to dispose of them. Occasionally, local recycling centers will host certain days to drop off old tires. A number of Firestone and Bridgestone places have tire recycling, but often only if you buy new ones from them.

But there are a number of uses for old, worn out tires. After they are ground down, old tires can be mixed with new road tar to build roads. Check with your local public works department to see if they participate in this.

Concrete manufacturers use enormous kilns, which are often large enough to feed whole tires into their furnaces. Other industries such as steel and glass companies often use them as well.

Recycled tires can also be used as mulch and road foundations, replace sand and gravel as landfill linings, and have even been used to make walls in homes. Colorado University tested tire and sandbag walls that are resistant to earthquakes.

Re-Tread has a patented Tire Log which has been used for firearms backstops, dams, housing and earthquake-resistant construction, military and police applications, retaining walls, and sea walls. One tire log is the equivalent to 17 sandbags. They are currently raising money to open their factory, but may be a future option for disposing your tires.

Businesses such as RB Rubber Products, Ecore, Tire Turf, IMC, Recycled Tire Mats, Rubber Bark, RubberForm, Used Rubber USA, US Rubber Recycling, US Rubber Reclaiming, Vulcana, Green Rubber Kennedy AG, Global Rubber, Ground Rubber, Praxair, Rebound Rubber, Sonepa, Harmony Industries, GTR, and Enviro Tire all recycle used tires and many of them make products from the used tires. Call or go online to see what is available in your area.

RB Rubber manufactures durable rubber mats and other products from recycled tires. They have a tire recycling facility in Oregon.

Tire Turf turns tires into crumb rubber at their facility in Michigan, which can then be made into playground surfacing, mulch, equestrian rubber surfacing, and molded rubber products.

The International Mulch Company (IMC) located in Missouri and Ohio processes more than 50 million pounds of recycled rubber per year. “They pledge to continue producing only the industry’s best recycled rubber products, and they will do it the same way they always have…one tire at a time.”

Carbon Green Inc., “takes discarded tires, which are an environmental hazard, and breaks them down into 100% reusable commodities while preventing substantial greenhouse gas emissions.” John Novak, President & CEO of Carbon Green Inc. says, “We believe this unique technology will have a profound positive impact on the earth and provides a safe solution for dealing with the over one billion waste tires discarded annually and ten billion waste tires stock piled worldwide.” They have a new manufacturing plant in Canada.

If you are interested in truly reusing your tires, Ecore manufactures flooring and other cork and rubber products that can be used in your office or in automotive assembly. Then when it wears out, they will take it back to recycle it.

For more information on Global Rubber USA, visit
For more information on Rubber Products, visit

Story by Jennifer Taylor

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