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Dear Wally,

I recently saw the news about a huge tire fire in Colorado and until then I never realized they were such a fire hazard. I have some old tires on the side of my house and now I’d really like to get rid of them! I have no other uses for them as a “reuse” item. Are tires recyclable?

Signed,
Rolling in Tires

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Dear Rolling,

Whether we’re driving through life’s daily business or road tripping to adventure, we count on our tires to keep us rolling. But once tires wear out, they can become a nuisance, or worse. Old tires can be recycled, but there is usually a disposal fee associated. One might stack them up in the yard to await a trip to the landfill, or resort to desperate measures to avoid disposal fees and dump them illegally. That is where the problems begin.

Tires left outside are prone to collecting standing water, creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes, potentially inviting the West Nile Virus and other diseases to your neighborhood.

Illegally dumped tires will damage vegetation, create unsightly litter, and can pose a major fire risk. Rubber tires are composed of several very combustible compounds such as carbon, oil, benzene, toluene, rubber and sulfur. As a result, tires have a higher per-pound heat output than most coal. In a tire fire, there are approximately two gallons of unburned runoff oil for every passenger car tire (poisoning land and water) and there are at least 32 toxic gases produced by tire fires.

Dumped near creeks or streams, tires can damage the ecosystem, harming wildlife and leading to flooding, erosion and landslides. Proper disposal is the only way to protect against these dangerous consequences.

The solution is free tire recycling, available August 1-31, 2020 thanks to Salinas Valley Recycles (SVR) and a grant from Cal Recycle. Residents in the SVR service area may dispose of up to 9 tires, with or without rims, for no charge at any of SVR’s three facilities during this special event (face coverings are currently required at all SVR facilities).

Old tires will be recycled into useful products such as pavement for roads, playgrounds and schoolyards. Other uses for recycled tires include alternative fuel for manufacturing industries, creating soles for shoes and work boots, sidewalks, and more.

Keep those resources in your old tires rolling forward, toward a future without landfills.