Recycling Tires 101

When you think of tires you think about them being used on automobiles and other transportation machines, but most people don’t think about what other items are made from used tires in their afterlife. Around 290 million tires are discarded each year in the U.S and each one of those tires can take 50-80 years or longer to decompose.

Here is the process for recycling rubber tires.

  1. Tires are gathered from landfills and drop off centers and are taken to a processing facility.
  2. Sidewalls are cut out to remove metal and other debris from the rubber.
  3. Ground up tire pieces are heated and treated with softening agent to make them soft, this is called vulcanization.
  4. The pieces are cooled and painted
  5. The pieces are passed under a powerful magnet to remove any remaining metal while a vacuum sucks out and lingering polyester so that you’re left with is clean soft rubber.
  6. The cut-up rubber is then packaged up and sent back out into the marketplace to be used as soil additives, playground covers, floor mats for gyms, synthetic turf, stall mats for horses, running tracks, and ballistic backdrops for shooting ranges.

Not all tires are recovered and recycled, many of them are just thrown away into rivers, fields, and landfills. To stop this the government has created laws for us to follow, also many states have banned whole and scrap tires from landfills.

The Indiana Administrative Code 329 IAC 15 sets guidelines for proper handling, transportation, storage and disposal of waste tires and waste tire facilities. Most individuals wishing to operate a waste tire storage facility or waste tire processing facility must first obtain a certificate of registration from IDEM. Anyone wishing to transport waste tires must also register with IDEM. Waste tire storage and processing facilities are not allowed to accept waste tires unless the transporter is registered with IDEM.

You can drop off your used tires to East Central Recycling at 701 E. Centennial Avenue in Muncie.
Delaware County and Muncie residents can bring up to six tires a year with no rims to ECR.