If you have some old tires and you don’t know what to do with them, it could turn into a significant hassle looking for options.
We’ve created this handy guide for where to safely and responsibly dispose of your tires for free.
Where Can I Dispose Of Tires For Free?
You can use one of several free online services that checks if there’s a tire recycling center near where you are.
It’s important that you find a recycling center that has specifically set up facilities to handle tires, because they are very different from regular waste.
Make sure you keep an eye out for recycling drives and events that target people in the area with old tires they want to get rid of.
Some places might even have an amnesty drive where they accept a set number of tires to the normal recycling plants.
Tire recyclers start by removing the steel or nylon wires that had been fitted into the rubber for support before cutting the rubber up into thin pieces using a shredder then treating them with chemicals.
After this, the rubber is screened to ensure there aren’t any pieces of wire or other pollutants that could interfere with its future use.
They then clean and package it for purchase by companies that need recycled or reclaimed tire products such as:
- Rubber chips
- Steel wires
- Rubber powder
You should keep in mind that you don’t get any money for taking your tires to a dedicated recycling center but it’s a safe and free way to dispose of old tires so it’s worth the effort.
2. Auto Shops
Most auto shops, including mechanics and tire stores, are able to take your old tires off your hands for free if you’re paying for another service.
When your tires become worn and you feel it’s time to change them, take your car to the shop and ask them if they could keep the old tires when they’re done installing the new ones.
3. Junk Yards
Taking your old tires to a junkyard or salvage lot is a quick and free way to get rid of them because those places are run by people who specialize in getting the most use out of anything that comes through their premises.
4. Sell Them
If you already have your new tires ready so you won’t need to go to the shop where you can leave your old tires and you feel like making some extra cash, you could sell the old tires yourself.
This is what they would do at the junkyard, but you need to make sure that the tires are in working condition.
There’s a strong market for used tires and the option is great for people who are changing out their tires before they reach the end of their regular lifespan.
You can sell them either to a used tire dealer or cut out the middleman and sell them yourself to the end user through a yard/garage sale or through online marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay.
You shouldn’t expect to get a load of cash through this method, but the fact that it nets you any money at all and costs virtually nothing is worth a look.
5. Return To The Manufacturer
Some tire manufacturers have recycling programs in place so you can contact them via call, email or snail mail and ask them if they take them back.
They could facilitate this by having drop-off set up at their stores or you could ship them to their recycling plants.
Either way, these programs usually don’t charge you for the services.
We know that “dispose of” usually means “get rid of” but if your old tires are stressing you out because you don’t know what to do with them, you should consider repurposing them.
Tires could be used for a variety of purposes that don’t cost much except your attention and a bit of time.
In gardening and landscaping, you could use a segment or whole tire as a planter or shred it to make mulch owing to its insulative properties.
Apart from their popularity in making outdoor swings, tires could also be used in a variety of other ways on kids’ playgrounds.
They can be used to make enclosures, fences, dividers, obstacle courses and more, and they’re a better alternative to metal because rubber could act as a cushion, reducing injuries on the playground.
To know more about tires, you can also read our posts on how are tires recycled, if tire smoke is toxic, and how long do tires burn.
What Can’t You Do With Old Tires?
In some places, it’s illegal to dispose of old tires in ways that are harmful to the environment.
These places will usually have legislation in place that prohibits one from knowingly mixing whole tires with solid waste that is meant to go to a landfill or outright dispose whole tires in a landfill directly.
You should not and in some areas probably cannot dispose of old tires on the curb or leave them in the trash for collection like regular garbage.
This also means that recycling tires is a specialized process so you shouldn’t leave them in the regular recycling bin that you use for items such as plastic bottles.
You should also completely stay away from burning tires in an incinerator like other forms of trash because burning tires are even more of a risk.
They release heavy amounts of black smoke that stays in the air for a long time, and the smoke contains hazardous pollutants like cyanide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and more, all of which pose a risk for public health and the environment.
Rubber smoke also contains fine particles that are easy to inhale and may cause serious health issues such as acute respiratory illnesses and could even worsen pre existing conditions in vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and people with pregnancies.
Burning tires are also known to emit substances that can cause cancer.
Leaving old tires out in your own backyard is also a bad idea because water pools inside them and creates a breeding ground for nuisance and disease causing pests such as mosquitoes.
To learn more, you can also see our posts on why tires are black, how long tires burn before, and how tires are recycled.