Everything in the world is expendable and we need to replace it frequently. It’s the same story with cars. They have tons of parts that need to be replaced. The interval will vary, depending on the part, but at the end of the day, things need to be changed.
The same can be said about tires. They are responsible for performance and safety, so having them in the best shape possible is crucial. Tires perform excellently when they’re new and after a while, you will need to replace them and there are two reasons for that. The first one is age and the second one is tread depth.
As we drive, the tread wears, reaching a point where the grooves are too shallow to deliver safe performance. Age, on the other hand, is something that affects tires regardless of how much we drive. After around 5-6 years, the rubber becomes hard, and the performance isn’t as it should be.
Regardless of which of these two you’re facing, you should think about getting a new set of tires. With that said, what should you do with the old one after the new one is fitted? Today, I’ll be talking about how to recycle your old tires or reuse them.
How to Recycle Tires?
The easiest way to recycle them is to leave them with the tire shop where you’re getting your new tires fitted. They have arrangements with recycling plants and will dispose of them properly. Alternatively, you can find one yourself and take them there. If you want to get rid of your tires, you can reuse or donate them. Old tires can be used as flowerpots, for swings, to create a small fence, or for any other DIY project you can think of.
Why Should You Recycle Tires?
Before I explain the how let’s talk about the why. Let’s say, for the sake of the example, that tires cannot be recycled. It means that every few years, you’ll be throwing 4 tires in some dump. Based on some statistics, there are around 1.5 billion cars in the world today. It estimates to around 6 billion tires getting dumped every few years. Keep in mind the numbers are just to explain the problem.
Having that many tires and we’d run out of space where to keep them, which is why recycling is the best approach. Tires are hollow and they take up a lot of space, plus there are materials that can be repurposed in other areas. It’s beneficial from multiple standpoints, so there aren’t any drawbacks to doing this.
The recycling begins with collecting the tires. The shredder helps with compacting the material that will later be recycled. A single tire can be shredded and compacted into a package much smaller than if it’s whole. Next up is the crucial separation process.
A tire consists of rubber, nylon, steel wires, and plenty of other materials, so before the repurposing process begins these need to be separated. The materials are transported to facilities where they can be used for other products once the separation process is complete.
What are Recycled Tires Used for?
When you start to break down the tires, you’ll see that there are plenty of materials that can be used for other applications.
You’ve seen kids’ playgrounds with a rubber-like surfaces. That’s made from recycled rubber from old tires. It gets melted and mixed with other components to get the required surface. A similar approach is with rubberized asphalt. The idea is the same and it still is used as regular asphalt, but it’s mixed with rubber. It’s a slightly better option, as it’s stickier, so the grip and traction levels are slightly improved.
Another way the rubber can be used is for soles in shoes. Some manufacturers even outline if they make their products using recycled rubber. With that aside, there are some special applications where the rubber from tires can help, especially in some harsher conditions, where you’d want something hard and durable on the bottom of your feet.
Tires that are sent for recycling can also be used as fuel. Some steel mills use rubber from tires as a fuel, which, based on certain analyses, seems to be a better option when compared to coal. With that said, there are also certain studies showing that burning rubber isn’t the most eco-friendly option, but there are some filters that can help reduce the damage.
As for the steel part, once it’s separated from the rubber, it gets repurposed into many applications, but in most cases, it goes back to the tire industry.
Ways to Recycle Tires?
Tires can be recycled in a number of ways. Some tire shops have contracts with these kinds of facilities, so once you go in to have your tires replaces, the shop will take the old ones off your hands. You may get a discount on the new tires if you return the old ones for recycling. Keep in mind that not all tire shops will offer this, so double-check.
This is the easiest way to get rid of your tires. It’s clean and simple, saves you a trip to another location and you won’t have to think where to keep the old tires until you take them to get recycled.
The second option is if the tire shop doesn’t deal with other companies that recycle and you’re getting the old tires back. In this case, you’ll need to source a company that does that and you can either take the tires to them, or they can come to your home and take them from you. I wouldn’t say that it’s super complicated, but having an extra set of old tires lying around isn’t too convenient. Depending on the company, some will do it for free, while others may pay you a couple of dollars for the tires. I’ve seen some people collecting old tires and sending them for recycling to make some extra cash on the side.
Ways to Reuse Tires?
Reusing is a sort of recycling so that the tires don’t end up in a dump. When I say reuse, I’m not thinking about putting them on another car and driving with those. Instead, I’m referring to finding other ways to put the tires to use. The possibilities are endless with these options.
The first thing you can do is donate the tires somewhere where they’ll be put to use. Local racetracks use old tires for barriers, so that’s one option. You can also take them to a zoo, where they’ll be modified to be used for the animals. The local gun range can even put those tires to use. I’ve seen some stacking tires and filling them with sand to trap bullets that have missed the target.
If you’re like me, a person who’s into DIY, then there are millions of things that you can do with a set of old tires. the most common thing I’m seeing on the internet is converting them into flowerpots. All you need to do here is paint them in any color you want and start gardening.
Speaking of the garden, another way you can use them is to create a fence around a part of your yard. Burry them halfway in and you’re done. Here you also have the option to paint them.
People that have kids and the place can use old tires for swings. Just tie the ropes on the tire and hang it on a tree. You can also use your old tires to create small round chairs for around a coffee table.
Old tires are a problem, not just for us as car owners, but also for the world. As soon as we’re done with a set, we’ll either need to keep them at home where they’ll take up space, or we can throw them at a dump. While both are an inconvenience, the second one is a bit more problematic. The solution is recycling or reusing.
Most people go for the recycling option, especially if they can leave them at the tire shop because it’s easy. On the other hand, some don’t mind putting them to good use and donating or reusing them for their household.