What To Do With Used Tires? Tire recycling and repurposing

By:     Kieran Donnelly

Every year, around 1.5 billion waste tires are produced globally. Tires are also not biodegradable and when they are incorrectly managed they can cause environmental damage and negatively affect public health.

Used tires need to be managed appropriately, and in many countries, it is also a legal responsibility to do so. In this article, we’ll outline some methods for what to do with used tires, ensuring that you know how to properly dispose of this type of waste.

At Gradeall, we design and manufacture industry-leading tire recycling machinery. We help contribute to the global effort of managing used tires and promoting responsible and efficient methods for tire recycling.

Why is tire recycling important?

Tire recycling is important because waste tires can have a negative impact if they are not correctly stored, processed and managed. Check out these reasons below for why tire recycling is so important.


Used tires have previously been placed into landfill sites, but this has led to many negative side effects in that they;

  • They take a long time to decompose (around 80 years).
  • Leach toxic chemicals into the surrounding soil.
  • Take up a lot of space in landfills.

Due to these effects, many countries have banned tires from landfills completely, or at least banned whole tires from landfill sites.

Tire fires

Tire fires are a devastating consequence of mishandling used tires. When a tire fire starts, it can take years to extinguish, releasing toxic gases and fumes into the air. Some tire fires have even lasted up to 15 years.


When whole tires have been discarded, they create the perfect breeding grounds to attract mosquitos, due to the stagnant water that pools in the bottom part of the rubber tire. Unfortunately, this also leads to increased cases of malaria in the surrounding area, which is a serious public health issue that can cause severe illness and fatalities. 

What to do with used tires?

Used tires can be put to much better use, as opposed to being discarded or ending up in landfill sites. Individuals can create fun DIY projects with old tires and recycling operations can extract valuable materials, transforming them into new products.

What can I do with old tires?

There are some great ways to repurpose old tires that you may have lying around. Some charities, clubs and schools might even accept them as donations for repurposing purposes.

With used tires you can;

  • Turn them into plant potters
  • Make a tire swing
  • Used them as outdoor furniture
  • Turn them into pet beds
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Check out this Pinterest page for more DIY ideas on what to do with used tires.

Bring them to tire retailers

Some tire retailers offer tire disposal services when you purchase new tires from them. Inquire if they have programs or partnerships to handle the proper disposal or recycling of used tires.

Tire retreading

Retreading is adding a new tread layer to a worn tire, in order to extend its usable life. Retreaded tires are commonly used in commercial vehicles and can help reduce tire waste by extending their longevity.

What to do with old car rims?

Used tires still contain a steel or alloy rim. This is a valuable material and you can usually sell it for a profit. If you’re only dealing with a few personally used tires, you could extract the tire rim manually with a little elbow grease.

However, if you’re dealing with a surplus of waste tires as a business or part of a tire recycling operation, you will need a tire recycling machine such as the Tire Rim Separator, or for larger tires, a Truck Tire Rim Separator.

Bring them to a tire recycling facility

Recycling used tires is an environmentally friendly option. Many recycling facilities specialise in processing tires and reclaiming valuable materials. They will usually charge a tire disposal fee and some limit the amount that you are allowed to deposit.

If you are bringing used tires to a recycling facility as a business, it may also become costly in both transport costs and labour. At Gradeall, we manufacture industry-leading tire recycling machinery to help make that process much more efficient.

Tire balers such as the MK2, MK3 or the Truck Tire Baler, can help reduce tire volume by up to 80% and Tire Shears are able to cut the tires into smaller and more manageable pieces. This allows businesses to transport more used tires in a single load, and save expenses on fuel and staff.

What do they do with old tires in recycling centres?

Tire recycling facilities will process used tires in order to extract valuable materials. At Gradeall, we have supplied many tire recycling operations across the world, with our industry-leading equipment.

Used tires can be used for:

Tire rubber recycling

Tires can be turned into a rubber crumb, which is then used to make other recycled products such as playground surfaces, sports pitches and road asphalt.

Tire Fuel

Some waste tires end up being used as tire fuel in industrial applications such as power plants, cement kilns, and paper mills. Although, this isn’t a green type of energy and it can still release toxic fumes when burnt.

Silage covers

Many tire recycling facilities will also cut the sidewalls of tires to repurpose them as silage covers. Silage covers are used in agricultural practices to place weight on plastic covers, increasing the heat and humidity.

At Gradeall, we have built tire recycling machines for this purpose, such as the Car Tire Sidewall Cutter and the Truck Tire Sidewall Cutter.

Gradeall: manufacturing solutions for handling used tires

At Gradeall, we are committed to manufacturing tire recycling machinery that helps better manage used tires with enhanced productivity and efficiency. We supply our equipment to customers across the world.

If you think that your organisation or business could benefit from industry-leading equipment, get in touch with a member of our team. We would be happy to help you find innovative solutions for what to do with used tires and contribute to a more sustainable practice of managing tire waste.

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