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Tire Recycling 101

When they’re on our vehicles, tires provide an indispensable combination of safety and performance. Many Canadians might not realize it, but once they’re worn out, tires still serve an important purpose thanks to tire recycling.

The vast majority of scrap tires—upwards of 90 per cent—are recycled and turned into other products. The process involves removing the steel belting and fibre, leaving behind a soft granular product called crumb rubber. This is is used to create a remarkable variety of products, including:

  • athletic tracks
  • flooring and mats for industrial and agricultural applications
  • flooring in recreational facilities
  • landscape mulch
  • playground surfacing
  • synthetic turf fields

Plus, many of these products can be coloured for enhanced visual appeal.

Each province and territory has its own rules governing the recycling of passenger tires. While the process varies by jurisdiction, tire retailers are typically required to levy advance disposal fees, more commonly referred to as eco fees, at the point of sale. Revenues generated from this process are used to fund programs for tire recycling.

Some of the provincial tire stewardship programs include:

Tire & Rubber Association of Canada: Provincial Tire Recycling Programs

British Columbia: Tire Stewardship BC

Alberta: Alberta Recycling Management Authority

Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Scrap Tire Corporation

Manitoba: Tire Stewardship Manitoba

Ontario: Ontario Tire Stewardship

Recycling tires is such an important environmental and economic initiative because it:

  • camper tires
  • car and truck tires
  • motorcycle tires
  • trailer tires

To learn more about this, check out our post: Why Are There Environmental Fees on Tires?

How Effective Are These Programs?

Recycling tires is such an important environmental and economic initiative because it:

  • Diverts waste from landfills
  • Repurposes a reusable material
  • Creates a multi-million-dollar industry
  • Stimulates job creation

For example, in Alberta alone, it is estimated more than five million tires are recycled each year. In Ontario, more than 80 million tires have been diverted from landfills since their program started in 2009!

Disposing of Scrap Tires

So you might be wondering: “What do I do with my scrap tires?” The short answer is: “It depends.”

Because each province has its own procedures for tire recycling, it will depend where you live in Canada. In many cases, tire retailers are the primary collectors of scrap tires, but there may also be designated municipal tire collection sites where you can properly dispose of your scrap tires. This could include places such as:

  • landfills
  • transfer stations
  • recycling depots

In British Columbia, Tire Stewardship BC has gone a step further by organizing scheduled Tire Roundups in various cities across the province. The non-profit organization has partnered with Kal Tire, which acts as the drop-off site.

 

To find out about upcoming tire roundups in BC, visit Tire Stewardship BC.