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Liberty Tire Recycling: Reclaiming 140 Million Tires Per Year for Healthier, More Scenic Communities


The American countryside is becoming more scenic, thanks to companies that are working with local communities to rid their land of abandoned tires. Liberty Tire Recycling is the nation’s largest tire recycler, collecting an astounding total of 140 million tires each year, or about one-third of all scrap tires. That makes them the largest tire recycler in the country.

Reclaimed tires are processed and refined for alternative clean-rubber uses. Some are used by civil engineers as a substitute for stone aggregates. Some become feedstock for manufacturers, or as fuel to power kilns and mills, while others go into the manufacture of adhesives.

At five Liberty Tire plants, tires are converted to crumb rubber, which is often used in rubberized asphalt highways that resist cracking, improve nighttime visibility, and reduce noise. Crumb rubber is often used with synthetic turf (see the Great Manufacturing Story about Act Global), which is used for sports fields at the high school, college and professional levels, as well as playgrounds. Crumb rubber also goes into products like welcome mats and synthetic railroad ties. All of these uses encourage conservation.

Abandoned tires pose an environmental hazard (through chemical runoff) and a health risk, in addition to being an eyesore. By attracting mosquitoes and vermin, they can be a breeding ground for West Nile Virus. Liberty Tire partners with communities and property owners to address the problem. The firm has remediated 150 existing dump sites over seven years in Georgia, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, according to the company.

Liberty Tire is based in Pittsburgh, and has facilities in convenient locations around North America. Total employment is about 1,100 workers.  

Given the growing public recognition of the importance of conservation and recycling, and the wide variety of applications for clean, reclaimed rubber, demand for the services of Liberty Tire and other recyclers is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future.