California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Tire Recycling and Market Development

Since passage of the Tire Recycling Act in 1989, California has dramatically increased the number of waste tires diverted from landfill disposal and sent to beneficial end uses. CalRecycle staff estimates that in 2010, Californians generated 41.1 million waste tires. The beneficial use of 33.2 million of these tires represents a recycling rate of 81 percent in 2010.

The California Tire Recycling Act authorized CalRecycle to award grants and loans to businesses and public entities for activities that could expand markets for used tires. The act specifically lists several types of projects: polymer treatment, crumb rubber production, retreading, shredding, and the manufacture of such products as rubber asphalt, playground equipment, crash barriers, erosion control, floor and track surfacing, oil spill recovery, roofing, and other environmentally safe applications. Grants are intended to fund research projects, to encourage business development, and to assist local government in implementing collection, outreach, and public education programs.

In addition, staff determined that the primary focus of the Five-Year Plan for the Waste Tire Recycling Management Program (biennial update for fiscal years 2011/12 through 2015/16) would be to build a sustainable statewide market infrastructure for tire-derived products. A solid market infrastructure for rubberized asphalt concrete (RAC), tire-derived aggregate (TDA) in civil engineering applications, rubber mat and cover products, and the development of new tire-derived products is essential to divert the remaining tires still being landfilled or disposed of illegally.

In order to make these markets sustainable, a steady flow of materials into the marketplace, sufficient capacity, diverse product lines, and continuous viable uses for products must also exist. The activities identified in the Five-Year Plan are designed to help enhance and solidify the infrastructure that manages waste tires from generation to end-product, through partnership with local jurisdictions, the private sector, and other State agencies. Building strong sustainable markets in California can increase the intrinsic value of waste tires as a raw material, diminishing the current economic advantage of landfilling tires. (See Products and Uses.)

The ongoing challenge for CalRecycle is to continue to develop viable markets for the remaining 7.8 million waste tires that are being landfilled annually to achieve the California's zero waste goals with respect to tires. CalRecycle is dedicated to finding new uses for this valuable resource and is committed to working cooperatively with local governments, industry, and the public to reach this goal.

Recycling Information

Recycling Centers | Coordinators | Associations

  • Recycling Centers. To locate a convenient recycling center, call Earth 911, which has a nationwide automated hotline at 1-800-CLEANUP. You can also get the same information online from the Earth 911 website.
  • Recycling Coordinators. Call CalRecycle at (916) 341-6199 for the name and phone number of your community's recycling coordinator. You may also contact our Local Assistance staff or your local city hall or public works department.
  • California Recycling Advocacy Associations. Recycling advocacy associations actively promote the recovery and use of secondary materials. The California Resource Recovery Association, the Northern California Recycling Association, and the Californians Against Waste are three leading California recycling advocacy groups.
Last updated: October 1, 2013
Tire Management, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Tires/
Tire Management Program Hotline: (866) 896-0600 (toll free) WasteTires@calrecycle.ca.gov