Waste tires are a persistent and widespread problem in the United States. Many individuals assume that they can handle tire disposal on their own, either by stockpiling used tires on their land or by dumping tires in unregulated areas.
In our previous blog, “Tire Recycling Options and Why They Matter,” we discussed the astonishing statistics about waste tires and the benefits of recycling tires rather than sending them to a landfill or disposing of them yourself.
In this blog, we delve deeper into eight of the potential risks of handling tire disposal on your own rather than partnering with a professional waste tire disposal expert.
Many individuals assume that as long as they take their spare tires to a landfill, they have disposed of this type of waste responsibly. However, one of the major issues with tire waste in the United States is the amount of space these non-biodegradable objects take up in landfills.
Tires can cause crowding and will often float to the surface of landfills after they’ve been covered, contributing to high disposal costs with no foreseeable end. Recycling is a much better option.
2. Fire Risk
Stockpiles of waste tires both on private land and in landfills pose serious health, safety, and environmental risks. Scrapped tires are, first and foremost, fire hazards. Tire rubber is highly flammable and particularly appealing to vandals.
Additionally, once a tire fire ignites, the rubber can potentially burn for months before it goes through the available fuel, even in smaller stockpiles. To reduce the risk of fires, tire storage facilities and recycling plants comply with meticulous regulations about the environment tires are kept in.
3. Groundwater Contamination
If you saw a fire burning, your first instinct would likely be to try and use water to put out the flame. While this tactic works for most fires, grease and tire fires are exceptions to the rule. Not only does pouring water on tire fires generally not put them out, but the choice can cause groundwater pollution.
As tires burn, the rubber melts and releases the chemicals used in tire manufacturing. A well-meaning passerby who pours water over this mess actually allows the chemical sludge to spread around and potentially reach fresh water sources.
4. Insect Infestation
While tires do not biodegrade, they do change as they sit in a stockpile or landfill over time. Specifically, waste tires often collect moisture on their surfaces and release methane gas. This combination creates the perfect environment for mosquito infestations.
Illegal dumping grounds, tire landfills, and stockpiles can encourage populations of particularly dangerous mosquitoes and increase the incidences of disease like West Nile virus.
5. Poor Air Quality
In addition to the methane gas release as tires age in direct sunlight and other weather conditions, the high risk of tire fires also contributes to a high risk of air pollution. Tire fires can contaminate local air with the same chemicals that pouring water on a tire fire could spread into the groundwater.
6. Regulation Noncompliance
Because waste tires have become such as serious problem in the United States, most states have implemented regulations about how tires should be dealt with when they are no longer useful. When you resort to DIY methods like stockpiling or dumping, you likely violate your state restrictions or federal regulations.
This type of noncompliance could lead to fines or even criminal charges if your actions directly led to a dangerous situation caused by your waste tires. Instead, work with a disposal and recycling company that is certified to deal with scrap tires.
7. Resource Waste
Tire production requires large quantities of natural resources as well as synthetic chemicals. Old tires are mostly recyclable, which allows these resources to be reused in other products like paving materials, fuel, or insulation.
When tires are allowed to sit in a dump and not decompose, all of the resources used to create those tires goes to waste, requiring the use of more of the same resources for manufacturing purposes. As mentioned in our last blog on waste tires, an estimated 77% of scrap tires are not recycled, meaning more than three-quarters of tire resources go to waste.
8. Soil Degradation
Studies of the effects of waste tire piles on the surrounding ecosystem indicate that the chemicals released as tires age can fundamentally alter the local soil. Specifically, waste tires may eradicate the beneficial bacteria that provide nutrients for flora and fauna.
Tire recycling eliminates the long periods of time that waste tires sit unattended in undeveloped areas altering the ecosystem.
The next time you invest in new tires, make sending the old set off for proper storage and recycling the last critical step in the purchase and installation process. Inquire at a reputable local disposal contractor to determine how to properly dispose of your waste tires.
For comprehensive disposal services, including waste tire removal in compliance with Illinois EPA and DEM regulations, trust the experienced team at Tri-State Disposal.