What Happens in Tire Disposal and Can Tires Be Recycled?

By:     Kieran Donnelly

The waste tire disposal process has several methods, with some being a lot more environmentally friendly than others. In this article, we’ll discuss the tire disposal process and explore how they can be recycled or repurposed for better use.

At Gradeall, we design and manufacture innovative tire recycling machinery, providing businesses with the practical means to pursue tire recycling alternatives. If you would like to discuss enhancing the productivity and efficiency of your operation, don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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What happens in the tire disposal process?

The tire disposal process is carried out through a range of different methods, including:


Some tires end up in landfill sites, which isn’t the best option for the environment or public health. Due to their buoyant properties, they can also rise to the surface of landfills and release toxic methane gas or they can leach toxic chemicals into the surrounding soil and water sources.

Some countries have gone as far as implementing a total ban on waste tires entering landfills sites, the EU Landfill Directive for example bans them across the whole of Europe. In other parts of the world, such as 38 states in the U.S., whole tires are banned from landfill sites, meaning they need to be shredded beforehand.

Tire dumps

Some tires also end up in tire dumps, which also carries increased risks to the environment and public health. If the tire dump was set alight for example, the tire fire could last years despite efforts to extinguish it. During the blaze, toxic chemicals would also be released which will pollute the air and negatively affect public health.

If tires are also incorrectly stored in tire dumps, they may form stagnant water in the base of the tire. This creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes which could lead to increased cases of malaria. In order to avoid this, tires need to be baled for proper storage and safekeeping.

Tire retreading

Tire retreading, also known as tire remoulding or recapping, is a process in which the worn-out tread of a tire is replaced with a new layer of tread. This allows the tire to be reused and extends its service life. Retreading is commonly done for large commercial vehicle tires, such as those used in trucks, buses, and aircraft.

Tire retreading offers several benefits, including cost savings, reduced environmental impact, and conservation of resources. It allows for the reuse of the tire casing, which is typically the most expensive part of the tire while reducing the demand for new tires.

Tire repurposing

Tire repurposing is a much better option compared to landfill sites or tire dumps. With a little creativity and ingenuity, they can be used for a range of other things including;

  • Tire swings
  • Plant potters
  • Tire furniture
  • Gym equipment
  • Tire art

Many schools, clubs and charitable organisations will use waste tires for repurposing methods. If you have a surplus of waste tires, it may be useful to call around and ask if local organisations would like to receive them as a donation.

Tire recycling 

Tire recycling is the best method for handling the 1 billion waste tires that are produced annually. Tires have several recycling purposes, meaning that they can be further processed for extracting valuable materials and creating new products.

Some of the methods for recycling waste tires include:

Mechanical Shredding

Tires can be mechanically shredded into small pieces, which can then be used for various applications. The shredded rubber can be used as a raw material in products such as playground surfaces, sports fields, rubberized asphalt, and rubber mats.


Tires can be crumbed into tiny rubber granules. These granules can then be used to make new tires, rubberized products, and other rubber-based materials.


Pyrolysis involves heating tires in the absence of oxygen, which breaks them down into various byproducts, including oil, gas, and carbon black. The oil and gas can be used as fuel sources, while the carbon black can be used as a pigment or filler in the manufacturing of new tires and other rubber products.


Devulcanization is a process that breaks down the molecular structure of rubber to reverse the vulcanization process. This allows the recycled rubber to be reused in the production of new tires and other rubber goods.

Recycling tires not only reduces waste but also conserves resources and energy that would otherwise be used in the production of new tires. It’s important to note that tire recycling practices may vary depending on local regulations and infrastructure, so the availability and extent of tire recycling options may differ in different regions.

Can tires undergo primary recycling?

Waste tires cannot undergo primary recycling. Primary recycling typically refers to the process of directly reusing a material for the same purpose it was originally designed for, without significant changes to its composition or properties. However, due to the complex composition of tires and the wear and tear they undergo during use, primary recycling is not a common or feasible method for tire disposal.

Enhancing your tire disposal process

At Gradeall, our goal is to enhance the tire disposal process for your operation. We are committed to pursuing tire recycling alternatives and our range of tire machinery makes this more accessible and convenient for businesses to achieve.

The Gradeall range of tire recycling machinery is quite impressive, some examples include:

Tire Rim Separator

Able to remove the steel or alloy rim from tires in under 20 seconds.


Car Tire Sidewall Cutter

Used for shredding the sidewalls of car tires, can handle up to 140 tires per hour.

MK2 Tire Baler

Can compress up to 110 waste tires into one single bale.

Most of our machinery also has additional models that can handle tires of bigger sizes, such as lorry and truck tires or OTR Tires.

If you would like to discuss tire recycling machinery to enhance your tire disposal operation, get in touch with a member of the Gradeall team and we will help you find a solution that’s right for you.

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