Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Waste Tires

Every new tire eventually becomes a waste tire, generating millions of waste tires in the United States each year. Historically, waste tires were landfilled, taking up valuable space and creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Currently, as markets have grown, most waste tires are recycled for fuel, civil engineering projects, playgrounds and trail surfacing, molded rubber products, and rubber-modified asphalt. Others are retreaded for reuse.

Storage and disposal of waste tires was recognized as a serious problem in the 1990s in Idaho, prompting enactment of the Waste Tire Disposal Act (Idaho Code §39-65) in 2003. The law was designed to strengthen the ability of the state, counties, and cities to regulate waste tire storage and disposal sites in the state. Major provisions of the law are described below.


It is illegal in Idaho to store waste tires on public or private property (including waters) anywhere other than at permitted or authorized waste tire storage sites. Waste tire  storage sites must obtain a permit or written county or city authorization to operate. Owners or operators must maintain a minimum of a $2.50 per tire financial assurance in the form of a cash bond. A permit or authorization may be suspended, revoked, or denied renewal for failure to comply with regulations.

A public health or safety emergency may be declared based on potential fire hazard, threat of insect-borne disease or potential ground water or surface water contamination, triggering removal and proper disposal of the tires. A civil penalty of up to $500 per waste tire may be levied for improper storage. Cities and counties are responsible for ensuring compliance with the law, although they may request that DEQ assume this responsibility.


Disposal of waste tires on public or private property in the state (including waters) is also prohibited anywhere other than at permitted public or private municipal solid waste landfills with approved operating plans to reduce the volume of waste tires landfilled. Waste tires may be disposed of at permitted public or private municipal solid waste landfills with approved operating plans if the tires have been processed to reduce volume by at least 65% or the average chip size of processed tires does not exceed 64 square inches (8 x 8 inches). A civil penalty of up to $500 per waste tire may be levied for improper disposal.


The law also prohibits transport of waste tires for storage to any location in the state other than a permitted or authorized waste tire storage site or a compliant municipal landfill. A civil penalty of up to $500 per waste tire may be levied for improper transport. 

Prolong the Life of Your Tires

Vehicle tires can last from 20,000 to 80,000 miles, depending on the type of tire, the types of roads you drive on, how you drive, and how you maintain the tires. Ultra-performance tires wear out faster, while tires driven on roads with long straights and gentle curves last longer. Proper care can extend the life of your tires, improve gas mileage, and achieve better handling of your vehicle. You will not only save money but also will help reduce the number of waste tires that must be disposed of or recycled. Try these easy steps:

  • Buy smart. Choose tires that correctly fit your needs and car.
  • Inflate properly. Underinflation of your tires can result in lost tire life. Overinflation can result in blow-outs or uneven wear.
  • Balance. Keep tires balanced to avoid pulling them out of shape at high speeds.
  • Rotate. Rotating tires helps to distribute wear evenly.
  • Align. Improperly aligned tires can increase tire wear dramatically.
  • Avoid sudden starts and stops. Abrupt stops and starts cause rubber to wear off on the road surface. Stop-and-go traffic wears tire tread faster than steady driving.
  • Avoid excess speeds. Driving at a high rate of speed causes heat to build up in the tire, rapidly deteriorating the rubber.

Staff Contacts

Solid Waste Program Manager
Matthew Beeter
DEQ State Office
Waste Management and Remediation Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0121

More Information

Basic Information on Scrap Tire Management

Markets and Uses for Scrap Tires

Scrap Tires and the Environment