Green Roads: Paving the Way With Recycled Tires

Greenroads: Paving the way with recycled tires logo

CalRecycle is dedicated to reducing the amount of tires that occupy our landfills by promoting the use of tire-derived products.

Fact Sheet

California generates more than 40 million scrap tires every year. While nearly 75 percent of used tires are recycled, the rest still end up in landfills or illegal stockpiles. If not managed properly, scrap tires are a potential threat to both California’s environment and public health and safety. Illegally stockpiled tires also pose a fire risk and are attractive habitats for rodents and insects.

Through the department’s Green Roads program CalRecycle is reducing the amount of tires disposed in California’s landfills by putting waste tires to new use as RAC and TDA.

Download Green Roads Fact Sheet (PDF)

Tire derived aggregates Tire-Derived Aggregate (TDA) TDA is the second largest use of recycled tires in the United States and provides a cost-effective alternative to conventional aggregate for use in various civil engineering projects.

Rubberized Asphalt Concrete (RAC)
RAC is a road paving material made from ground scrap tires mixed with asphalt concrete. RAC is more durable, safer and quieter than traditional asphalt roads — and uses thousands of scrap tires per paved mile.

RAC & TDA Workshops

Presentations from the January/February 2013 RAC and TDA workshops are available.

California leads the nation with innovative waste reduction and diversion programs. Besides recycling paper, cans, bottles, plastic, food scraps, batteries and computers, we also recycle 75 percent of our waste tires. Unfortunately, the remainder end up in landfills, or illegally stockpiled or dumped. CalRecycle’s Green Roads program promotes waste tires as a valuable resource and environmentally sound solution to solve engineering problems.

Scrap tires can be ground and mixed with asphalt to pave roads, or shredded for use in landslide repair and embankments. These uses keep thousands of tires out of landfills with every project. Additionally, using tire-derived products frequently results in significant economic and energy savings and is the first step in helping the state reach its goal to recycle 90 percent of its unneeded tires.

Watch our Green Roads video below (1 min., 4 sec.) or from YouTube. | Transcript (2010)

Cost Comparison Chart

ProductProject DescriptionConventional Materials Quote
Recycled Materials QuoteCost

Southern California project requiring 4-inch overlay of conventional asphalt

1,584 tons

754 tons

Tire-Derived Aggregate
Highway 880 interchange at Dixon Landing

7,026 tons

6,627 tons


1. What is the “Green Roads” campaign?
CalRecycle is promoting the use of tire-derived products to increase diversion of waste tires from landfills and stockpiles. The Green Roads campaign is designed to increase the use of recycled tires in construction and road paving projects throughout California. Using recycled waste tires is cost-effective, reduces the need to mine natural resources, and reduces health and safety risks associated with illegal tire piles.

2. How much do Californians know about recycling tires?
According to CalRecycle’s Baseline Survey conducted in spring 2010, 40 percent of participants in the statewide sample stated that they did not know what happened to tires that were collected in the state.

3. What happens to used tires that are collected in the State of California?
Tires can be recycled into other products. Many are ground into crumb rubber for use in paving projects or shredded into a lightweight fill for use in other civil engineering projects. There are many other eco-friendly products made from recycled tires. Go to CalRecycle’s Tire Management Homepage for more information.

4. Does the use of recycled tires in construction pose a health risk?
No. The creation and use of RAC and TDA does not emit any harmful chemicals, and studies have shown the process has no adverse health effects.

5. What are the health risks or potential dangers of stockpiled tires?
Illegally stored or stockpiled tires pose a fire risk and can be an attractive habitats for rodents and insects, which allow for diseases such as West Nile Virus to spread more readily.

6. What do Californians think of recycled-tire materials being used in Green Roads projects?
According to CalRecycle’s Baseline Survey conducted in spring 2010, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents said they were “extremely supportive” of the state’s efforts to use recycled-tire products in highway construction and repair projects.

7. How will “Green Roads” spread the message about recycled tires?
CalRecycle staff is organizing workshops and training events for civil engineers and local officials throughout the state. Partnerships with sponsors of tire amnesty collections and other events will alert the public to new uses for their old tires.

For more information contact: Tire Management Program Hotline,