Tire Recycling and Market Development

CalRecycle estimates that in 2018, Californians generated 51.1 million waste tires. From 2017 to 2018 waste tire diversion increased from 76.2 to 82.3 percent and recycling increased from 33.7 to 36.6 percent (recycling rate excludes alternative daily cover and tire-derived fuel). Additional data can be found in the California Waste Tire Market Report for 2018.

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 2017/18 through 2021/22) 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 8.5 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.

For more information contact: Tire Management Program Hotline, WasteTires@calrecycle.ca.gov