The Tire Recycling Process; How Does It Work?

By:     Kieran Donnelly

Recycling tires has become a global industry, and as new technology emerges, we are increasingly seeing innovative ways to handle this type of waste. The future looks promising for keeping end-of-road tires out of landfills and put to better use.

In this article, we’ll outline different methods for conducting the tire recycling process. They have several valuable materials that make up their composition and with recycling techniques, we can extract them and use them in the production of new resources and products.

Tire recycling machines

Gradeall is a leading manufacturer of tire recycling machinery. We aim to contribute to the tire recycling industry with high-performance machinery that can streamline this process. Contact us and speak with someone about enhancing the efficiency and productivity of your operation.

Tire rim recycling

The first step in the tire recycling process is to remove the steel or alloy rims from the waste tire. This serves two purposes, the first is that the tire is much easier to process after the rim is removed and the second, is that the waste steel can then be sold for profit and recycled into new products.


At Gradeall, we have manufactured industry-leading machinery that conducts this process efficiently. The Tire Rim Separator can remove the rim in under just 20 seconds and the Truck Tire Rim Separator can do it in just under 60 seconds. This is the first ideal step in the tire recycling process.

Tire sidewall cutter

Once the tire rims have been removed, the sidewalls from the waste tire can also be cut off. This serves several purposes in the tire recycling process, including:

  • The remaining sidewalls can be reused as silage covers in agriculture practices.
  • The wire beading is removed, which prevents wear and tear to tire shredder machines.
  • The processed tire is much easier to manage and bale.
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At Gradeall, we have manufactured the Car Tire Sidewall Cutter, which can process up to 140 tires per hour and the Truck Tire Sidewall Cutter which can handle larger agricultural and lorry-type tires. This step helps streamline the tire recycling process and prepare them for further processing methods.

Tire baler

A tire baler can bale whole waste tires and tires with the sidewalls removed. The latter, just also for more tires to be baled at once, which can greatly enhance the transportation and storage process.

Tire bales have several advantages, including:

  • Limiting the risk of tire fires starting.
  • Reducing the risk of stagnant water pooling in loose tires, which can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Reducing the volume of storage space by up to 80%.
  • Reducing fuel consumption and transportation costs for waste tire handlers.

At Gradeall, we have designed and manufactured several tire balers for this purpose. The MK2 Tire Baler is ideal for passenger-type waste tires, whilst the Truck Tire Baler is able to bale larger tires from trucks or lorries.

Tire recycling methods

Once the tires have been formed into tight compact bales, they can then be sent to tire recycling facilities that will process the waste tires physically or chemically. This process will alter the tires’ composition, to extract valuable resources or convert them into useful products.

Mechanical Shredding

This method involves shredding tires into smaller pieces using specialized equipment. The resulting tire chips or shreds can be further processed or used as a raw material in various applications.

Ambient Grinding

Ambient grinding utilizes ambient temperature to reduce tires into granules or crumb rubber. The process involves cutting or grinding tires into small particles, typically ranging from a few millimetres to a few centimetres in size.

Cryogenic Grinding

In cryogenic grinding, tires are frozen using liquid nitrogen or a similar cryogenic substance. The frozen tires become brittle, allowing them to be easily shattered into small particles. Cryogenic grinding is often used to produce fine rubber powders.


Pyrolysis involves heating tires in the absence of oxygen at high temperatures, typically around 400 to 600 degrees Celsius. This thermal decomposition process breaks down the tires into various byproducts, including liquid oil, gas, and carbon black. These byproducts can be further refined and used in the production of fuels, chemicals, or other materials.


Devulcanization is a process that aims to break the cross-links in vulcanized rubber to restore its elastic properties. It allows for the reclamation of rubber from tires, which can then be used to produce new rubber products.

It’s worth noting that the specific tire recycling methods used can vary depending on the desired end products, the available technology, and the recycling facilities’ capabilities. Different methods may be more suitable for certain types of tires or for specific recycling goals, such as maximizing material recovery or energy production.

Tire recycling uses

Once the tires have been processed using one of the methods above, they can then be used in the application of new materials or resources. Some of the tire recycling uses include:

Fuel for cement kilns

Tire chips can be used as a fuel source in cement kilns. The high energy content of tire chips makes them suitable for generating heat during the cement production process.

Civil engineering projects

Tire chips can be used in civil engineering projects such as retaining walls, embankments, and slope stabilization. The chips offer lightweight fill material that can reduce the overall weight of structures.

Construction materials

Shredded or ground tire rubber can be used as an additive in the production of construction materials like asphalt, rubberized asphalt, or rubber-modified concrete. This helps improve the performance and durability of these materials.

Recycled tires playground

Tire chips are often used as a cushioning material in playgrounds and recreational areas. The chips provide impact absorption, improving safety and reducing the risk of injuries from falls.

Landscaping and mulch

Tire chips can be used as a landscaping material or mulch in gardens, flower beds, and pathways. They help retain moisture, control weed growth, and provide insulation for plants.

Equestrian surfaces

Tire chips can be utilized in equestrian arenas and horse paddocks as a footing material. The chips offer shock absorption and provide a comfortable surface for horses, reducing the risk of injuries.

Athletic tracks and sports fields

In some cases, tire chips are incorporated into the construction of athletic tracks and sports fields. The chips can help with drainage, provide cushioning, and enhance the durability of the surfaces.

Road and path construction

Tire chips can be used as an aggregate in road construction and the creation of walking or biking paths. The chips provide additional stability, improve drainage, and reduce road noise.

Upgrade your tire recycling operation

If you would like to hear more about upgrading your tire recycling operation speak to a member of the Gradeall team. We have waste management solutions to suit every operation’s needs and requirements, whilst enhancing the efficiency and productivity of their tire recycling process.


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