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What to Do With Old Tires

Two Old Tires Laying on the Ground
By:Andrea Axsom| Last Updated:03/15/2024
Time to Read: 5 min

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How to Dispose of Tires

An old tire here and there can be turned into a cute planter or epic tire swing, but too many tires lying around? Major eyesore — not to mention disposing of tires can be a challenge since most waste haulers won’t accept them in their dumpsters or curbside trash pickup.

So, how can you get rid of tires? Here are our top ideas to get them off your hands safely and legally.


Why Proper Tire Disposal Matters

Almost one-quarter of scrap tires end up in landfills each year. These tires can damage landfill covers that reduce odors, pests and other hazards. Recycling tires instead can protect the environment from harmful emissions.

Why You Can’t Throw Tires in the Trash

There are many laws and regulations around how to dispose of tires. Most states ban tires from landfills for several reasons:

  • Scrap tires are bulky and not biodegradable. They take up large amounts of space in landfills.
  • Regular passenger tires like you might find on your own car typically contain steel belts that landfills can’t process.
  • Tire stockpiles can cause uncontrollable fires that release dangerous gasses, heavy metals, oil and other pollutants into the environment, threatening human health.
  • A tire’s shape can attract mosquitoes and rodents when piled together.

How to Get Rid of Tires

With laws restricting tire disposal in landfills, it can be difficult to know the ins and outs of how to dispose of old tires legally. Here’s where to take old tires once they become too worn for your vehicle.

Dispose of Tires With a Registered Scrap Transporter

Scrap tire transporters are businesses that pick up and transport old tires to a storage or processing facility. In some states, you must be licensed to haul a large number of tires at one time. If you have a stash of tires you need to get rid of, these facilities are a good option. Check with your state’s environmental agency for scrap tire regulations and a list of eligible haulers to help figure out where to get rid of tires near you.

Consider Donating for Free Tire Disposal

If you’re looking for a way to recycle your tires for free, consider donating them to an organization like Wheels for Wishes. They’ll recycle your tires for you, and your donation will benefit your local Make-a-Wish chapter.

Drop Them Off at a Tire Recycling Center

Old tires can be turned into fuel, paving material and more when handed over to the right place. Specialized recycling organizations are one of the best places to get rid of tires responsibly. Contact a facility in your area before dropping them off to ask about fees and restrictions.

Pile of Tires at a Recycling Facility
Person Holding a Tire in a Garage

Reach Out to a Local Auto Shop

When you buy new tires, most auto shops will recycle your used tires for a fee by passing them over to an EPA-certified recycler. Leaving used tires with your retailer when you buy new tires is the easiest way to ensure your old tires are put to good use. However, if you don’t plan on buying new tires from the shop, you can still reach out and ask if they’re willing to dispose of old tires for you.

Wait for a Tire Collection Event

Some cities and counties host regular tire recycling events. Residents are encouraged to bring their used tires and get them recycled for free. Check with your local solid waste division to see if your community hosts an event like this.

Blue Recycling Dumpster With Tires

Ever wonder where trash goes after you toss it?
Learn how much actually goes to a landfill!

Upcycle Your Old Tires With One of These Projects

Disposing of tires often comes with a fee. If you have only a few tires to get rid of, try out one of these free and unique used tire ideas.

Girl Pushing a Tire Swing

Tire Swing

A tire swing is an easy and fun addition to your backyard. If you already have a tire, all you’ll need to finish the job is a drill, a rope and a sturdy tree.

  1. To start this project, clean the old tire with a pressure washer.
  2. Then, drill drainage holes in the bottom of the tire to avoid pooling rainwater.
  3. Place heavy duty exterior rope over a healthy tree branch that’s at least 8 inches thick. Double the rope over the branch.
  4. Slide the two ends of the rope through the center of the tire and around the top of the tire twice. Adjust the tire until it sits at your desired height.
  5. To finish, tie a bowline knot.

Tire Flower Planter

Another idea is to display your favorite potted plant in your used tires. While tires are fine to grow flowers in, they should not be used as planters for anything edible because of the chemicals they contain.

  1. First, it’s a good idea to drill drainage holes in the bottom of the tires.
  2. Then, paint the tire a desired color and let dry.
  3. Tie the tire to a rope and attach it to a tree or porch.
  4. After it is hanging securely, place your flowers inside. If you’re using real plants, fill the lower half of the tire with soil before inserting the flowers.
Three Painted Tires Hanging With Flowers
Man Jumping Over a Tire

Tire Exercise Equipment

Some gyms have turf areas with access to tire exercise equipment. Large tires are best for most exercises, but consider asking your local gym or park district if they’ll accept your average-sized vehicle tires.

If that doesn’t work, make use of them during your home-based workouts. You don’t have to love CrossFit to use your old tire as a piece of workout equipment. Here are a couple functional exercises to try out at home.

Box Jumping

Box jumps help increase your vertical jump. Stand facing the tire. Squat down as you prepare for a jump. Let your arms swing backward and leap onto the tire.

Lateral Jumping

Lateral jumps can help develop strength in your lower body. Squat slightly while standing next to your tire. Jump sideways onto the tire and land in a half squat. Step down from the tire and repeat.

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