How to Start a Tire Recycling Business

by Ian Linton; Updated September 26, 2017
Stack of new tires

Tire recycling businesses take waste tires and convert them to products that serve as raw materials for a variety of industrial and civil engineering processes. They ensure tire disposal is a safe, environmentally friendly process that reduces waste and saves resources. To start a tire recycling business, you need a site to store and process tires, a supply of waste tires and an understanding of the market for recycled materials. You may also need state permits and licenses specific to the tire recycling industry.

Understand the Market

Identify potential customers for the materials you recycle. This determines the type of equipment you obtain and the recycled products you offer. Road construction firms want shredded rubber crumbs to mix with hot asphalt. Incinerator and industrial heating plants also use rubber crumbs for tire-derived fuels. Recycled rubber provides strong surfaces for areas such as playgrounds or running tracks. Tire manufacturers need recycled rubber to produce new tires. Companies also recover high-value materials such as carbon black, steel and oil, according to the website CleanTechnica. Modified waste tires are suitable for engineering applications such as field drainage, road embankments and slope recovery.

Find a Site

Find a site in an industrial zone or rural location where you can receive, store and process large numbers of tires safely. Tire recycling is a noisy, dusty business, so check noise and zoning restrictions in your area. The site must provide easy access for trucks delivering waste tires or collecting recycled materials. Secure the site with chain-link fencing and lockable gates, and ensure you have adequate fire prevention and fire fighting equipment on site. Burning tires create toxic fumes and dense smoke, harmful to the environment.

Set Up a Recycling Plant

Buy or lease new or used equipment for your recycling plant to process waste tires. To handle incoming tires and materials on site, buy or lease a forklift. A tire shredder with a set of different-size screens produces rubber crumbs in sizes to meet customers’ specific needs. Large-scale shredders can also incorporate industrial magnets to separate metals from rubber so you can maximize recyclable materials. Buy or rent containers to store recycled materials.

Locate Sources of Feedstock

A regular source of used tires is essential to your business. Contact organizations that need to dispose of used car and truck tires, including service centers, tire retailers, taxi firms and car rental companies, bus and coach operators, trucking and logistics companies, and companies with fleets of cars or vans. List your facilities in local business directories to promote your service. If you provide a used tire collection service, aim to build a supply base within a 150 mile radius of your site. The Rubber Manufacturers Association recommends this distance as a rule of thumb for profitable operation.

Obtain Licenses and Permits

Check your state licensing requirements for tire recycling. Each state has its own licensing guidelines, with different requirements for registration, financial assurance, storage, processing and tire pile clean-up, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. You may also have to obtain permits relating to air quality, public health and fire safety, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.

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