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Cars, SUVs, trucks, minivans, and even tractors all have one thing in common. They use tires and can’t do a thing without them. As one of the most critical parts of any moving vehicle, every owner has them at some point. Buying new ones costs a lot, but what happens to your old tires? The dealer or mechanic will usually dispose of them by recycling them. Others will have to take care of the round pieces of rubber themselves. What can I do with old tires? Are they recyclable? Where should I take them? What about a DIY project?

Can I throw away my old tires?

A stack of new all-season tires.
A stack of new all-season tires. | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Depending on where you live, trash pickup varies heavily. For some people, the garbage truck won’t take it if it doesn’t fit in a trash can. Others can line up trash down the street along the curb, and it’ll all be gone the next day. However, old tires are heavy objects that can be a huge pain to move. Are garbage trucks really going to take them from the front of your house? The short answer is no, and most dumpsters you’ll find won’t accept them either.

According to Budget Dumpster, “Most states eliminate tires from landfills because their shape. They hold a lot of air and it causes them to migrate to the surface. They also have value as a recycled item,” said Diane Bickett, executive director at Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District in Ohio.

That’s why it’s important to plan what you’ll do with your old tires before replacing them. Once new tires are mounted on your vehicle, the old ones will sit around and take up space. Luckily, there are a few different options for DIY-ers.

There’s probably a recycling facility near you

A man works in a tire recycling center to recycle tires after they've been driven on for years.
Syrian craftsmen displaced from the city of Maarat al-Numan in the southern countryside of the Idlib province, recycle used tyres to be transformed into baskets, in the northwestern city of Idlib, on November 14, 2021. (Photo by Mohammed AL-RIFAI / AFP) (Photo by MOHAMMED AL-RIFAI/AFP via Getty Images)

Your old tires are entirely recyclable. This doesn’t mean you should try to fit them in your little green recycle can with paper and plastic. Instead, it means your area has a facility specifically for recycling things the weekly pickup won’t take. That’s where we’re headed with our old used round rubber wheels. According to Budget Dumpster, “Specialized recycling organizations around the country take and recycle used tires; some will even come and pick them up for you. There is usually a fee associated with recycling tires, whether you drop them off or someone picks them up for you.”

Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to get around paying to get rid of your tires. Whether you take them to a recycling facility or our next option, a local auto shop, it’ll probably cost money to get rid of them. In some states, you’ll need a license to bring many in at a time. Of course, you don’t need a license if you only have four to recycle. That’s only for companies and shops bringing massive quantities of at a time.

There are a few ways to find a recycling center near you:

  • Where can I recycle tires near me
  • Call a local recycling center and ask if they are accepted
  • Check with your regional EPA office
  • Call city services
  • Search for community tire collection programs

Local auto shops may take your old tires

When you buy new tires and replace them at an auto shop, they’re going to recycle your old ones immediately. Usually, shops or dealers will throw all of them into a pile or dumpster retrieved by an EPA-certified recycler. Whether you’ve noticed or not, these shops charge you to recycle them after a replacement. Furthermore, this is the safest route, as places like this have to use certified recyclers legally and are guaranteed to take care of everything correctly for you.

Additionally, you can call places like this to ask if you can drop your tires off. If you performed a replacement on your own or just have old tires lying around, many auto shops will recycle them for a fee. Simply call and ask a few local spots, and you’ll likely stumble upon one willing participant.

Turn old tires into home DIY projects

Finally, for those looking to keep their tires without them just lying around taking up space, you can do a DIY project. For example, a tire swing is the most obvious choice. As the most traditional recycled tire project, it only requires a rope and a sturdy tree. However, Budget Dumpster made a few other suggestions. Things like an upcycled tire ottoman, a recycled tire ladder, and a tire flower planter. Websites like Pinterest are excellent resources for finding many other project ideas for your old tires.

In conclusion, there are many things you can do with your old tires. Once removed from your car, old tires are a pain to get rid of and sometimes sit around, taking up space for far too long. The easiest route is finding a nearby auto shop that will recycle them for you. Next, finding a recycling center nearby is relatively simple and gets them out of your hair. Finally, DIY projects are always an option. Who doesn’t want to turn their old car tires into a swing, planter, or some other neat backyard project?


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