California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Take Care of Your Tires!

Each of us can do something to help avert potential problems caused by more than 40 million worn or damaged tires replaced each year in California, not to mention the millions already stockpiled at waste tire facilities or illegally dumped in alleys and by roadsides throughout the state.

Our Legislature recognized the serious environmental safety and health threats posed by improper management of waste tires and passed the California Tire Recycling Act in 1989. This act mandated that CalRecycle oversee and regulate the management of waste tires in the state. To further assure proper waste tire management, the Legislature passed additional legislation in 2000 to augment the California Tire Recycling Act.

What Can You Do to Help?

We can all take action to keep from being "rolled over" by the waste tires in our state:

Buy Longer-Lasting Tires

When buying new tires, think long-term. Higher-mileage tires may cost more up front, but in the long run you will save money, especially if you follow the five steps listed above.

Consider Retreaded Tires

Retread tires are safe and less expensive than new tires. Using retread tires also helps keep tires out of the landfill. Retreaded tires are currently available for light trucks and commercial vehicles. If enough people ask for them, they will become available for passenger cars. Ask your local distributor if retreads are available for your vehicle.

For more information on retreaded tires, take a look at these videos:

  • Hear how Californians have been successfully using retread tires!  (WMV | YouTube, 14:02)  | Script (2009)
  • See how retreaded tires are created! (WMV | YouTube, 11:08) | Script (2009)

Use Tire-Derived Products

There are now many handy products you can buy made from recycled tires, such as:

  • Playground safety surfaces.
  • Equestrian arena surfaces.
  • Mulch, soil amendment, and weed abatement mats.
  • Roof shingles.
  • Molded products of all sorts.
  • New tires that contain recycled rubber.

Check for all kinds of recycled-content products on our Web site.

Rubber from waste tires is used in many applications, such as school tracks and sports surfaces and civil engineering projects, rubberized asphalt concrete (RAC), and other highway uses. Call your local public works department and ask if it is using RAC on the roads in your area. RAC extends the life of pavement, quiets road noise, and provides better traction. Check with your school district and see if it is replacing old playground and track surfaces with safer rubberized material. Write the politicians who represent you and ask them to support statewide purchasing of products made with recycled rubber.

Reuse/Recycle Tires

Be sure your damaged or worn tires are properly managed. When you buy new tires, leave the old ones with the dealer, who will see that the tires are reused, recycled, or disposed of properly. If you have old tires around your property, check with your city or county environmental health office to find out where you can take them. Keep an eye out for local clean-up days. In some communities, there may be free clean-up days, but in others, there may be a charge for picking up your tires.

Call 1-800-CLEANUP for more information. 

Additional Information

If you are interested in more detailed information about used and waste tire management and CalRecycle's activities in this area, the following resources are good places to start.

Last updated: July 17, 2015
Public Affairs Office: (916) 341-6300