By Trey Granger on Aug 27, 2009

Tennessee Creates Task Force on Tire Disposal

Tennessee is addressing scrap tire disposal through a new task force with representatives from the Tennessee government, tire dealers and those who collect tires for recycling, according to

State law currently prohibits tires from landfills, and as a result, each county is responsible for providing a collection site where residents can drop them off.


From 1990 to 2003, the total number of scrap tires going to market increased from 11 million to 233 million. Of all the scrap tires discarded today, over 75 percent are recycled or used for fuel or other applications. Photo:

To fund these disposal programs, tire dealers charge a fee of $1.35 per new tire, which is incorporated into the initial price.

However, some disposal sites are arguing that the number of tires coming in for disposal does not correlate with the money collected by dealers. This is causing some counties to take losses in their disposal programs, a complaint the task force will look to address.

The challenge with tire recycling is that metal must first be removed from the tires before they are shredded, which requires separate machinery for this initial step.

If communities choose not to recycle tires, they can pile up in what is known as a stockpile, which produces a breeding ground for disease and rodents. They also have the potential to catch fire, causing a difficult-to-extinguish blaze that produces black smoke.

Tennessee's neighbor to the south, Alabama, recently spent $7 million to clean up its largest tire pile.

The new task force is expected to have its first meeting in the fall.

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      • Walker Harmer

        Used tires is a huge problem in Tennessee’s counties especially the rural ones . Many people just dump them on the side of the road , even some tire retailers . A possible solution may be to provide an incentive or bounty to the public on old tires , that means people would get paid to take them to a recycle center ; like a county landfill . Why not handle them like batteries,and aluminum cans ? Use some grant money for some pilot projects in several rural counties . Keep America Beautiful could help this committee get motivated .