California has more registered vehicles than any other state. As a result, more than 48 million reusable and waste tires are generated each year. It is estimated that fewer than 25,000 waste tires remain in stockpiles (not legacy piles) throughout the state. These stockpiles pose a potential threat to public health
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is dedicated to finding new uses for this valuable resource, and to working in cooperation with local governments, industries, and the public towards reaching this goal.
What happens to reusable and waste tires?
California is faced with the challenge of diverting or safely managing more than 48 million reusable and waste tires generated annually in the state. CalRecycle staff estimates that of the approximately 48.5 million reusable and waste tires generated in 2017, approximately 36.9 million of the tires (76.12 percent) were diverted through various alternatives, including reuse, retreading, and combustion. On the other hand, the recycling rate (excludes alternative daily cover and tire-derived fuel) fell for the fifth year in a row to 33.3 percent (16.2 million of the tires).
Currently, the recycling markets in California do not consume all of the waste tires generated. Waste tires need to be stored safely until sufficient markets are in place to increase the consumption of waste tires. CalRecycle provides the proper waste tire management framework by enforcing waste tire facility and waste tire hauler regulations. As the use of tires as feedstock material in commercial applications increases, illegal stockpiling and the need for permitted storage will decrease or cease to exist.
The below chart is from the California Tire Market Report:2017.
1Due to changes in methodology over the years, findings between older and newer years may not be directly comparable. Changes in methodology are discussed in Appendix B, and more details are available in the historical reports published by CalRecycle online at https://www2.calrecycle.ca.gov/Publications/Category/25.
How is CalRecycle meeting the challenge of reducing the landfill disposal of waste tires?
CalRecycle has lead responsibility to stimulate the diversion of reusable and waste tires and to promote alternatives to landfill disposal of this resource. CalRecycle has developed and funded a variety of waste tire management activities to achieve these objectives, including:
- Business development assistance to California enterprises.
- Research to expand the uses and recyclability of tires.
- Assistance to local governments to manage waste tires.
- Regulation of waste tire facilities and waste tire haulers, to help ensure the protection of public health, safety and the environment.
- Public education.
How is CalRecycle's tire program funded?
The California Tire Recycling Act of 1989 (AB 1843) authorized the creation of the Tire Recycling Program and the California Tire Recycling Management Fund. A fee is assessed on the sale of new tires, and collected revenue is deposited quarterly into the tire fund. CalRecycle allocates funds annually based on availability and changing program needs. Please see the Board of Equalization's fact sheet, California Tire Fee for more information.
How is the program structured?
California's waste tire management and recycling efforts are divided into two functional areas: tire permitting and enforcement activities, and tire recycling and market development activities. The tire permitting and enforcement activities ensure that reusable and waste tires are stored and transported safely. Staff also coordinates with local and regional agencies to mitigate unsafe situations at existing abandoned tire pile sites and provide technical assistance. Tire recycling activities include offering financial assistance, engaging in recycling and marketing research, and providing technical assistance.
Please see our Five-Year Plan for the Waste Tire Recycling Management Program for additional information. The five-year plan establishes goals and priorities for the waste tire recycling program and includes programmatic and fiscal issues as well as performance objectives and measurement criteria. This plan is updated every two years.