Burnt as fuel for energy (“Tire-Derived Fuel”): tires are used as a more economical alternative to coal as fuel in cement kilns, pulp and paper mills and industrial and utility boilers – 53% in the USA and 38% in Europe. Because of their tipping fees, tires are cheap to procure and provide an excellent energy source, however it is the method that gives the least value to scrap tires. It destroys valuable commodity products that are becoming short in supply, that could otherwise be recycled and reused. The burning of tire waste emits greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, even under controlled conditions. This method is destroying commodity products that will soon be needed to maintain a sustainable planet.
Shredded for civil engineering and crumb rubber: tire shred is used for landfill construction, and crumb rubber is used for rubber products, sports surfacing, and rubber-modified asphalt – 29% in the USA and 38% in Europe.
Retreaded and exported: tires are reused with a new tread or in a new market – 10% in the USA and 15% in Europe.
Landfilled: tires are landfilled in designated areas – 8% in the USA and 9% in Europe. The situation has improved significantly since the 1980s, however landfilled tires proved to be prone to catastrophic fires which created air and water pollution. Additionally, landfills are health hazards because they harbor disease vectors such as mosquitos and rats. To top it all, tires take generations to decompose.