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Waste Tire Management

Used vehicle tires are suitable for reuse if they meet criteria in 329 IAC 15-2-13 [PDF]. Vehicle tires that can no longer be used for their original purpose must be properly disposed of. Landfills cannot accept whole waste tires per Indiana Code 13-20-14-1, but there are some exemptions. IDEM encourages recycling or retreading waste tires and has approved other legitimate uses. Businesses that sell new tires at retail must accept waste tires from consumers who purchase new tires from them on a one-for-one basis, and they must comply with other regulations for tire retailers.

It is illegal to open dump or open burn waste tires in Indiana. Improperly stockpiled or illegally dumped tires can trap rainwater and become breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents. Tire piles that catch fire are difficult to extinguish, emit toxic gases into the air, and leave an oily residue that can pollute water and land. Waste tires must be transported, processed, stored, and disposed of properly to prevent these problems.

Indiana Code 13-20-13-1.5 requires anyone storing waste tires to do so in a manner that protects human health and the environment, does not pose a fire hazard, and controls vectors that can threaten human health. Owners or operators of businesses that transport, process, or store waste tires must obtain a registration from IDEM before starting their operations. They also must comply with operating, reporting, and closure requirements for waste tire operations.

Proper Disposal of Waste Tires

Indiana Code 13-20-14-4 requires persons or businesses who generate waste tires to properly dispose of them via:

  • A wholesaler or to an agent of a wholesaler (defined in IC 13-11-2-267)
  • A tire manufacturer
  • A tire retread facility
  • A permitted final disposal facility regulated under environmental management laws
    • IDEM nonrule policy document Waste-0007 (available on the IDEM Nonrule Policies page) describes how to alter a tire so it is not a whole tire. However, disposal facilities may have policies requiring additional processing or may refuse to accept any waste tire material.
  • A registered waste tire transporter, storage, or processing site

However, none of the above parties are required to accept waste tires. IDEM’s Recycle Indiana portal provides waste tire recycling information.

Exemptions to the Whole Waste Tire Disposal Ban

Owners, operators, or permittees of municipal solid waste landfills may dispose of:

  • Small amounts of whole waste tires per 329 IAC 10-20-32 [PDF] if a tire arrives at the working face in a load of municipal solid waste and removing the tire would endanger persons or equipment or cause delays that result in safety problems.
  • Solid rubber or hardened foam-filled waste tires from industrial equipment, as described in IDEM’s Disposal of Solid Core Waste Tires [PDF] guidance document.

Other Legitimate Uses for Waste Tires

IDEM’s commissioner may approve other legitimate uses of waste tires on a case-by-case basis if the agency determines the use is legitimate and does not pose a threat to public health or the environment (329 IAC 10-3-1-(16) [PDF]). The Office of Land Quality’s Industrial Waste Compliance Section processes requests for other legitimate uses. Examples of previously approved legitimate uses include structural fill applications.

IDEM has also issued a generic legitimate use approval in nonrule policy document Waste-0058 (available on the IDEM Nonrule Policies page). Waste tire chips can be used as aggregate in soil absorption fields and perimeter drains in on-site sewage systems when approved by the Indiana State Department of Health.

Other uses not requiring a case-by-case legitimate use approval include the use of:

For Assistance

For assistance with waste tire regulations or registration, please contact the Solid Waste Permit Section. For compliance questions, please contact the waste tire compliance staff on the IDEM Regional Staff and Inspectors page.