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How to Dispose of Old Tires in California

by Julius Vandersteen

In California, which has the highest number of registered motor vehicles of any state, residents must deal with tens of millions of waste tires every year. About 72 percent of the 44.8 million waste tires generated in 2008 were diverted through reuse, retreading and burning, according to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. That's a good thing, because when old tires are discarded on the side of a road, they can fill with rainwater, providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If a pile of tires catches on fire, it emits hazardous fumes and can take weeks or months to put out. To increase the number of tires that are recycled, the California Tire Recycling Act of 1989 authorized the state to collect fees on the sale of new tires, to help fund the Tire Recycling Program.

Leave your old tires at the dealership or tire shop when you get new tires installed. You will pay a disposal fee, usually ranging from 50 cents to $2 per tire, and the dealer or mechanic will arrange for them to be recycled.

Go to Earth 911's Find Recycling Centers website (see Resources). Type "used tires" in the "Find Recycling Centers For" search box, type your ZIP code or address in the "Near" box, then click "Search." A list will appear showing facilities that will recycle your tires, along with their contact information.

Keep an eye out for announcements of waste tire amnesty days in your area, which are sponsored by grants from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. You bring your old tire or tires to a designated location, where you can dispose of them for free. The events are designed to reduce illegal tire dumping and to keep used tires out of landfills.

About the Author

Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.

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