Are old tires safe to recycle? The good news is you CAN recycle tires safely and under the right circumstances. Recycling is the best practice for disposing of tires that have reached their end of life. However, not all tires make the grade for recycling into new products like crumb rubber for playgrounds or tire-derived fuel for power plants. M&M Waste can help you with a dumpster rental if you recycle a few tires. There are a few different reasons why some tires cannot be recycled. We'll discuss these reasons below, but first, we need to understand what is involved in the recycling process and how it differs from typical disposal methods.
Some old tires may have been exposed to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) during use. VOCs are chemicals that easily vaporize at room temperature because they have at least one carbon atom attached to two oxygen atoms.
These chemicals may include:
They are a complex, finely balanced structure that includes steel belts, wire reinforcement, and rubber. When they're put into service, they're filled with air pressure supporting the vehicle's weight and passengers. The tire is designed so the air can be easily replaced as it leaks out during use, but once it is off the rim and exposed to the elements, it begins developing cracks and holes in its surface.
Tires that have been stored for long periods of time also contain dangerous chemicals like zinc oxide and carbon black. Even though these chemicals are inert in their solid state, they can be released when tires are burned or processed into rubber mulch or crumb rubber.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates several types of chemicals used in manufacturing tires. There are concerns about what happens when these compounds are exposed to heat, moisture, and sunlight. At the same time, they're being recycled because they could leach into groundwater supplies if they weren't properly managed during disposal or recycling.
Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer to this question. It depends on many factors: how old your tires are, how long they've been sitting outside (and therefore exposed to sunlight), and what kind of rubber was used when they were new (natural or synthetic). The hotter it is outside, the faster these chemicals will break down. If you live in a hot climate or leave your tires outside for long periods of time (for example, storing them on the roof of your garage), consider recycling them sooner rather than later.
Ultimately, the recycled tire should be burnt or shredded before being placed in a landfill. This limits the number of VOCs that can leach into the environment. Several health and environmental risks are associated with burning or disposing of old tires, and even the chemicals inside new tires can be unsafe in many applications. If you rent a dumpster for your old tires, they become easier to dispose of properly. For these reasons and more, it's important to properly dispose of old tires and recycle all automotive parts that can be recycled safely.