According to a U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association report, 71% of discarded tires are recycled to create rubberized asphalt, ground rubber products, and fuel. You may have seen some things made from ground rubber, such as playgrounds, athletic fields, running tracks, mulch, and floor mats.
While it is good that 71% of discarded tires are being reused or recycled, you can see that many tires are still not recycled. When we have almost 275 million scrap tires yearly, and there are 29% not recycled, that means about 80 million tires are dumped or sent to landfills. That’s a lot of tires that could be recycled!
Unfortunately, the tires that aren’t recycled often end up in illegal tire piles, which can be very dangerous. Standing tires can provide a watery home for mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile Virus and other diseases. Piles of tires can also catch on fire and burn for long periods of time, releasing heavy, black smoke and leaving an oily film behind on the soil. That isn’t good for people or the planet!
Doesn’t a playground, running track, or sports field made from tires sound much better than a nasty pile? And, of course, those are just some of the uses. Tires also become parking bumpers, road surfaces, and so much more!
This year, be sure that your used tires are recycled. When you buy replacement tires, the tire store will recycle the old tires for you. You may also be able to drop off used tires at a local hazardous waste collection or tox-away day. Contact your local solid waste authority to see what is available in your community.
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