Responsible Tire Disposal | Legal, Eco-Friendly, and Cost-Effective Solutions

Last updated on March 26th, 2024 at 12:29 pm

Currently, the US generates approximately 315 million scrap tires. But it will reach 350 million by 2030 due to increasing adoptions of EVs, according to RRC (Recycled Rubber Coalition). Another study predicted that the volume of ELTs would increase, with the global tire market hitting 2.67 billion units by 2027. These numbers call for responsible waste tire disposal management. So, in this comprehensive guide, we will talk about the legal and best ways of old tire disposal so you can play your part in building a healthy and green future. 

The Environmental Impact of Improper Tire Disposal

Dumping tires in landfills or stockpiling them around the town leads to several environmental and, thus, health issues. Waste tires leach toxic materials in landfills, including hydrocarbons, phenolic compounds, nickel, zinc, and copper, into the soil and groundwater. And, since tires take around 80 years or more to decompose, the process of harming the ecosystem will continue for a long.

Besides, tires are highly flammable. Upon catching fire, they release toxic fumes and air pollutants such as CO2, methane, etc, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Tire stockpiles are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It increases the risk of malaria, dengue, and many other vector-borne diseases. 

Illegal Tire Disposal: Fines and Penalties 

Getting rid of waste tires is crucial, but throwing them on roadsides, vacant plots, forests, etc, isn’t a good practice for your and others’ lives. The US government has set some rules and regulations at the state level for waste tire disposal, which you, as a citizen, must abide by. 

According to these laws, burning waste tires or dumping them in unauthorized places is considered illegal tire disposal. 38 states have banned tire disposal in landfills, while 35 allow shredded waste tires to be landfilled. However, 8 states still permit the disposal of tires in landfills. 

Violating these laws can result in hefty fines varying from state to state. For example, in Akron, Ohio, you may have to pay a $500 to $25,000 fine and go to prison for 6 months to 4 years. Illegal tire disposal penalties in Alabama include a $10,000 fine and 10 years of imprisonment per violation. 

How Do You Dispose of Tires Legally and Safely?

The following are some legal methods you can consider for waste tire disposal. 

Find a local tire recycling facility:

Tire recycling centers have partnered with the state government and EPA under the scrap tire management program. These facilities collect old or used tires from homes, communities, and businesses. 

Instead of dumping them in landfills, they recycle waste tires to make valuable products for various industries. You can contact your local and authorized recycling services provider to collect waste tires from your property. 

You may search for your nearest Liberty Tire Recycling site by entering the zip code here. It’s America’s major tire recycling center. 

Besides, every state has its dedicated tire recycling facility. For example, residents in 46 counties of South Carolina can contact RecycleHereSC for their waste tire disposal. 

Contact regional waste tire haulers: 

Tire haulers are the intermediaries that collect waste or scrap tires from the county and transport them to the recycling centers. However, you may need to pay for this service. 

In Nevada, scrap tire transporters charge $0.75 to $1.50 per tire. You can contact them for waste tire disposal in your community. 

Make sure to find an authorized hauler. You may contact these registered waste tire haulers If you are from Virginia. Similarly, residents of California state can find their regional waste tire haulers by visiting this link

Give used tires to retailers: 

Alternatively, you can drop off the used or old tires at retailers’ shops. These businesses are registered with local tire waste management organizations. When you buy new tires, give the old tires to the retailers and pay a few dollars extra as your scrap tire disposal fee. 

However, the cost can vary from state to state. Alaska’s tire retailers will charge $2.50 per new tire and $5 for studded tires, whereas Florida, Alabama, Nevada, and Ohio charge $1. You may check the tire disposal fee according to your region here. 

Free Tire Disposal Options

You can dispose of your waste tires without giving additional dollars to service providers and retailers. Here’s How. 

Participate in tire amnesty events:

Local communities arrange these programs as a part of educational campaigns to promote legal tire disposal. Participants are allowed to dispose of their old tires without paying a fee. However, there’s a restriction on the number of tires you can submit. 

Besides, you can donate your waste tires to local parks and schools or dedicated charity organizations accepting ELTs for various purposes. However, these organizations have some criteria regarding the condition and volume of tires. So, be sure to check the rules. 

Now, it sounds completely different and lucrative compared to the above methods. But it works only for commercial settings like auto repairers with bulk waste tires. 

Various companies buy used or old tires at a fair price for reusing and reprocessing. If you’re into a tire business, visit this marketplace to find local or international buyers and dispose of old tires in exchange for some cash.

Eco-friendly Tire Disposal Methods

Seeing the increasing environmental concerns due to ELTs, USTMA and EPA have started several eco-friendly tire disposal initiatives at the state level. These tire disposal programs focus on 3 Rs: Recycle, Reuse, and Repurpose.

If you’re an auto repair shop, retailer, or any business involved in tire usage, you can dispose of your waste tires without harming the ecosystem. Here’s how:

Participate in the state tire programs: 

All states offer tire recycling programs. You can find local initiatives by choosing your region on the EPA website. Since each state has different criteria, check the guidelines thoroughly. It may include information like tire type, quantity, drop-off methods, disposal fee, etc.

Partner with a recycling platform: 

You can also partner with a private recycling center for eco-friendly waste tire disposal. These businesses have the machinery and expertise to process scrap tires in bulk and make valuable products efficiently. 

It includes rubber crumbs for the construction industry, steel belt recovery for various industrial applications, and tire-derived fuel (TDF) for energy sources. However, choosing a reputable center is crucial. Look for certifications and license showing their commitment to a sustainable environment. 

For example, American Reclamation is a recycling facility in Los Angeles. It is licensed under CalRecycle to collect and process used tires. AR works with auto mechanics, tire retailers, and dealers to manage their waste tire disposal in the city. 

Make DIY projects:

This method suits residents with a very low volume of scrap tires. You can consider making different things out of old tires. For example, you can paint the tire and hang it with a rope on a tree branch to make a swing for your child. 

If you’re a plant lover, you can make plant containers from old tires. Moreover, using waste tires, art and craft geeks can create decorative furniture, such as coffee tables, chairs, ottomans, etc. 


In the US, every person generates around one tire per year. But the real concern is how we manage those ELTs. But, hopefully, this guide has answered all your queries regarding responsible tire disposal. So, no more dumping of scrap tires here and there; confirm with your local authorities the registered sites and haulers to drop off waste tires. Only this collaborative approach between tire manufacturers, government bodies, and consumers can bring the desired results.

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