Tire Recycling Alberta -
New Name, Same Success Story
In 1992 Alberta introduced a $4 advanced disposal surcharge
on every new tire bought in Alberta. The surcharge funds a
program charged with recycling the three million tires Albertans
discard each year, as well as recovering tires stockpiled
in landfills across the province.
million tires have been recycled in Alberta since
1993, the year the tire recycling program began.
30 million tires laid end to end across Canada would
reach from Victoria, B.C., to St. John's, Nfld. –
and back. Stacked like pancakes, they’d reach
seven times as high as the Space Shuttle flies.
Albertans discard over three million tires every year.
Until 1993, many of these tires were dumped in landfills
or burned – both disposal methods were costly,
to our municipalities and to the environment.
Burning tires results in air pollution and potential
soil and ground water contamination. No tires have
been burned as fuel in Alberta since 1995.
Recycling of the first 20 million tires saved Alberta
municipalities $100 million in landfill costs.
The $4 advance disposal surcharge is added to the
cost of every new tire purchased in Alberta. This
surcharge pays for the tire recycling program.
Over 80 per cent of the rubber material recycled today
is used in Alberta, twice as much as two years ago.
Albertans have shown great initiative and ingenuity
in discovering new uses, products and markets for
recycled tires. Old tires are usually processed by
first shredding them into one-inch and two-inch chips,
which can be used in civil engineering projects.
In 2004, 100,000 tires were used to pave about 30
km of road with asphalt rubber.
It’s a tall order, but the mandate has been met in
spades — 30 million tires have been recycled since 1993
and the program continues to be self-sustaining. The discarded
tires are shredded into one-to-two-inch pieces or ground into
“crumb,” a granular rubber material.
Over 80 per cent of the rubber is used in Alberta, mainly
by municipalities, in a wide variety of ways. You’ll
find tire rubber in playgrounds and parks, buildings, walkways
and arenas. It’s used in mats, race tracks, patio tiles,
residential shingles, asphalt roads and landfills.
Over 100 Alberta communities have participated in Municipal
Demonstration Projects, which enable the tires to return to
the communities where they were collected.
Besides the obvious environmental benefit, recyled rubber
is a good material for other reasons. It offers a cushioning
effect that makes running tracks and playgrounds safer, and
even reduces the fatigue of handlers in livestock shows.
Tires were once the bane of landfills, but not anymore.
Shred is now used for leachate liners that prevent the contamination
of groundwater. Far more effective than gravel, the tire shred
springs back from compressive loads and is inert to the contaminants.
The Village of Ryley was one of the first users of shred
for a landfill. The municipality even used recycled tire rubber
in the road to the landfill. Together, these Ryley projects
put 460,000 scrap tires back to work.
Alberta’s tire recycling program began as the Tire
Recycling Management Association. But it’s been so successful
that the model is now extending into the recycling of electronics
goods, such as obsolete computers and televisions.
Both programs — Tire Recylcing Alberta and Electronics
Recycling Alberta — are now housed under the new Alberta
Recycling Management Authority, the new name of a made-in-Alberta
approach to transforming trash into useful products and materials.