Municipal recycling centres will normally accept tyres from householders’ own vehicles but businesses such as garages must dispose of them separately as they are considered to be commercial waste. Some recycling centres have special bays for tyres, so ask a site operative for help when you arrive.
Some garages will also take your old tyre for recycling when they fit a new one to your vehicle. Historically, waste tyres have been a nightmare for society largely ending up in landfill sites where they occupy a lot of space. Advances in processes and changes in attitudes, as well as legislation, has led to huge increases in recycling rates for tyres, becoming more eco friendly. Recycle tyres by checking with your local authority or tyre shop next time you change them!
How are tyres recycled?
The metal rims are sometimes still attached when they are received by a recycling company. These are easy to separate and can be refurbished and re-sold or treated as ferrous scrap metal. The remaining tyre will normally be made of a mixture of steel, textile and rubber, although there are often traces of oil and other chemicals present, too.
Tyres can sometimes be re-treaded and re-used but sometimes, the only option is to recycle them, particularly if they are badly damaged. In such cases, the tyres are granulated so that the various materials can be recovered. Tyre shredding is largely increasing. The metal is recycled normally, but the rubber crumb is sometimes used to make sports surfaces and safety mats for children’s play areas. It has many other uses, too, ranging from carpet underlay to the production of rubberised asphalt for roads or even as a fuel.
The Used Tyre Working Group is an industry/government group established in 1995 to consider issues associated with the re-use and processing of used tyres. For more information on recycling old tyres, see: https://tyreindustryfederation.co.uk/