Proper Disposal / What Do I Do With?

The Scrap Tire Puzzle

Diane Bickett

Maybe this is you. Winter is coming, your tires are bald. You head to your local big box store in search of a new set. Darn those are expensive, you think. Plus, they want to charge me to take my old ones. What gives?

We get this question a lot at CuyahogaRecycles.org, and we have the answer.

Don’t be tempted to take your bald tires home with you thinking you are going to make them into planters, sell them to a recycler or put them out with the trash. You will find it isn’t that easy to get rid of scrap tires. They will end up sitting in your garage.

When you buy new tires, pay the few extra dollars to have the tire store properly dispose of your old ones. State law requires tire retailers to hire EPA registered tire haulers to transport scrap tires to licensed disposal and recycling facilities. This system handled 1,144,513 scrap tires last year. Most scrap tires were recycled into products like rubber mulch, running tracks, rubberized asphalt or tire derived fuel.

Tires that are not handled through this system end up costing taxpayers more. Cities bear the burden of picking up thousands of illegally dumped tires or must hold special events to collect them since tires are banned from landfills in Ohio.

The District wants everyone to understand that there is no free lunch when it comes to tires. We pay to buy the tires and then we need to pay to dispose of them when they are no longer safe.

Tires are manufactured to be indestructible which is what makes them so difficult and expensive to recycle. They are made of rubber, steel wires and nylon that all have to be separated from each other before they can be used for recycling. That’s why your tire store charges around $3-4 per tire for disposal. But it’s a small price to pay to ensure that your old tires go back into a system of reuse rather than buried forever. It will also save you the hassle of schlepping your dirty tires home with you.

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