How to Dispose of Tires Properly
Learn what you can—and can’t—do when getting rid of old tires.
Q: My car got a flat tire the other day. I was able to change the tire without issue, but I realized I don’t know how to dispose of tires. Can I just put the tire out on the curb with the rest of my trash, or are there special tire disposal procedures I should follow?
A: Unfortunately, you cannot simply throw tires out with the rest of your garbage. In fact, it is actually illegal to put tires in the trash. They contain steel belts that can pierce through liners in a landfill, leading to ground contamination. Additionally, tires are bulky and take up a lot of landfill space. And, since tires aren’t biodegradable, they’ll stick around for thousands of years before decomposing.
If you’ve recently changed a tire on a bicycle or car, or if you have other old tires lying around, recycling them can minimize the waste that ends up in our landfills. Read on to learn how to dispose of tires properly.
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Tire shops might recycle old tires as part of a service.
When you have new tires put on your vehicle, the tire shop might dispose of your old tires for you. In many cases, the disposal fee might be built into the total cost of installing the new tires. You may need to pay an additional fee—typically less than $25 per tire—but it’s likely well worth it when factoring in the convenience of not needing to haul old tires around for disposal.
Before you let the shop take tires off of your hands, however, you might want to confirm whether they plan to recycle them or take them to a junkyard. In the latter case, consider looking for a tire recycling center and recycling the tires yourself instead.
Some retailers will dispose of old tires for a fee.
Even if you aren’t buying new tires but need to get rid of old ones, some retailers—such as tire shops and auto parts stores—will still dispose of your tires. Depending on your area and the retailer you choose, tire disposal costs can vary, but the typical fee is between $5 and $20 per tire.
You may need to call around to a few local retailers to find one willing to dispose of old tires. As you call around, be sure to ask any retailers that offer disposal services whether the tires will be recycled or taken to a junkyard. To reduce environmental impact, find a shop that recycles tires.
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Specialized recycling centers may recycle tires for free.
Your county or municipality may have a specialized recycling center where tires and other items that require special care, such as electronics or hazardous waste, can be taken. If you’re not sure where your local recycling center is (or if this service is even offered in your area) try searching online for “tire disposal near me,” “free tire disposal near me,” or “where can I dispose of tires for free.” Local government offices may also be able to offer guidance in person or over the phone.
If you’re planning to change your vehicle’s tires yourself, first read your old tires’ sidewalls to confirm that the replacements you purchase are the correct type and size for your car.
Junk removal services will dispose of tires for you.
Rather than searching for where to dispose of tires and hauling them to a recycling center yourself, you can contact a junk removal company instead. A junk removal service will come to your location and remove any tires for you, saving you time and effort.
Many junk removal companies also advertise recycling services, meaning you’ll still be able to keep your tires out of a landfill by working with them. However, be sure to confirm this with the specific company you’re considering using before having the tires hauled away.
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Upcycle old tires for various outdoor projects.
Rather than worrying about how to dispose of them, consider upcycling old tires for outdoor projects around your house. Here are some ideas for repurposing your old tires.
- Make a tire swing
- Build a climbing tower
- Create rubber mulch to minimize weed growth
- Craft a simple DIY raised garden bed
- Build end tables or chairs
- Create pots for your plants
- Craft unique art for your garden
- Make a mini sandbox
Before starting your tire upcycling project, remember to clean the tire(s). Using a pressure washer can remove dirt and grime. If necessary, use a non-toxic degreaser as well to remove any grease or gunk left behind after pressure washing.