Waste tires pose environmental and health hazards
Waste tires are those no longer suitable for their intended purpose due to wear or damage. Accumulations of waste tires harbor mosquitos, snakes, and other vermin, which pose health risks, such as the mosquito-transmitted West Nile Virus.
Waste tire accumulations also present a dangerous fire hazard and the potential to emit polluting tire smoke.
Waste tires have a negative market value and proper recycling or disposal can be expensive. They tend to accumulate, and sometimes they’re dumped illegally. Many tire accumulations exist for a significant length of time. We work with public entities to clean up unauthorized dumpsites and prevent further waste accumulation by funding community tire collection events.
How to dispose of unwanted tires
- Leave your old tires at the tire store when you buy new ones.
- Ask your local transfer station if they accept tires.
- Call 1-800-RECYCLE or visit 1800recycle.wa.gov to find a disposal location in your area.
Waste tire program
In 2005, the legislature created the waste tire removal account to help clean up illegally discarded tires. This account is funded by a $1 fee charged for each new vehicle tire sold in Washington. We receive an annual budget of $500,000 from this account. With this budget, we provide resources to communities and landowners who discover unauthorized waste tire accumulations. We also oversee businesses that handle waste tires.
The waste tire program:
- Provides funding to contract for waste tire removal services.
- Assists local governments in waste tire pile prevention and education.
- Manages the fees collected from the sales of new tires.
- Licenses businesses that haul, store, or dispose of waste tires.
Waste tire removal
This table summarizes efforts we fund for waste tire removal from 2007 to 2020.
||Tons of Tires
This chart summarizes the waste streams for tires in Washington State from 2005 to 2017.
Tire related fees, permits and licenses
Tire retailer fee
Most tire dealers in Washington are required to collect a $1 fee for each new tire sold. This fee does not apply to:
- Tire sales to the federal government that are exempt from sales tax.
- Tire sales to tribal members delivered to the enrolled member's reservation.
- Sales of retreaded vehicle tires.
- Tires provided free of charge under the terms of a recall or warranty service.
If a customer returns a tire and is refunded the entire selling price, the $1 fee is refundable, as well (WAC 458.20.272).
Waste tire carrier license
Most businesses that haul waste tires are required to obtain a license. We maintain a list of these licensed tire carrier businesses.
Waste tire carrier requirements:
- Entities that haul five or more tires must obtain a waste tire carrier license from the Washington Business License Service.
- An annual license fee of $200 per location and $50 for each transport vehicle. The business must also post a $10,000 bond.
- Licensed waste tire carriers must deliver waste tires to licensed storage, disposal, or processing facilities.
A waste tire carrier license is not required for:
- Entities transporting five tires or fewer.
- Transporting used tires to a retail outlet for repair or exchange.
- Solid waste collection companies regulated under Chapter 81.77 RCW.
- Federal, state, or local governments, or contractors hired by these entities, when involved in cleaning up illegal tire piles.
- Tire retailers associated with retreading facilities that use company-owned vehicles to transport waste tires for the purposes of retreading or recycling.
Waste tire storage
Businesses that store waste tires are required to get local permits and may also need a state license.
Waste tire storage requirements
- Storage of more than 800 waste automobile tires (or the combined weight equivalent of eight tons), when each individual tire weighs less than 500 pounds requires a solid waste handling permit from the local health department.
- Storage of more than 20 tons of waste heavy equipment tires, when each individual tire weighs 500 pounds or more requires a solid waste handling permit from the local health department.
- A waste tire storage license issued by the Washington Business License Service is also required if the solid waste handling permit does not meet all the substantive requirements of WAC 173-350-350.
- A state issued waste tire storage license is typically not required when the solid waste handling permit meets all the substantive requirements of WAC 173-350-350.
- An annual waste tire storage license fee is $250 per location for the business.
- Storage site owners must have financial assurance sufficient to cover the cost of a third party to remove the maximum amount of tires permitted to be stored on site and the delivery of those tires to a facility permitted to accept the tires. This financial assurance is usually a bond but can be some other form of financial assurance as specified in WAC 173-350-600.
- Owners of waste tire storage sites must file annual reports with their local health department and with us, listing the amount of tires accepted. It must also include the amount of tires removed, and their end use and the amount stored. This report is due April 1 annually. Annual report forms can be found at Annual Reports for Recycling Facilities.
Permitting and/or licensing for waste tire storage is not required for:
- Waste tires stored inside mobile containers, so long as the containers are used primarily for transport and are moved at least annually on- and off-site of the associated facility.
- Storing 800 waste automobile tires (or the combined weight equivalent of eight tons) or less, when each individual tire weighs less than 500 pounds.
- Storing 20 tons of waste heavy equipment tires or less, when each individual tire weighs 500 pounds or more.
Penalties for unauthorized transporting, storing, or disposing of waste tires
- Disposing of waste vehicle tires on public or private property can result in a $200 to $2,000 civil penalty for each offense (RCW 70A.205.400).
- Transporting or storing waste tires without a valid waste tire carrier license or waste tire storage license is a gross misdemeanor (RCW 70A.205.450). The penalty for a gross misdemeanor could include up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both (RCW 9A.20.021).
- A person transporting waste tires without a license is liable for the costs of cleanup of any and all transported waste tires (RCW 70A.205.450).
Laws and rules
- RCW 70A.205.015 — Solid Waste Management, Reduction and Recycling statute. Definitions Section. Waste tires are defined here.
- RCW 70A.205.400 – RCW 70A.205.460 — Solid Waste Management, Reduction and Recycling statute. Waste Tire Sections. These sections describe the funding for the waste removal account, waste tire storage and carrier requirements and pertinent penalties.
- WAC 173-350-350 — Solid Waste Handling Standards rule. Waste tire storage section. This section details waste tire storage requirements.
- WAC 173-350-355 — Solid Waste Handling Standards rule. Waste tire transportation section. This section details waste tire carrier requirements.
- RCW 70A.15.5010 — Washington Clean Air Act: Outdoor burning fires prohibited section. This section of the law describes the prohibition of burning rubber products, which includes tires.
- WAC 173-425 — Outdoor burning rule. This rule details the prohibition of burning rubber products, which includes tires.