Looking for cool ways to go green? So are we! That’s why Ontario Tire Stewardship is hosting the Green My Tires blog series on UrbanMoms. Throughout the series you will find information on innovative green products, the how-to’s on getting even greener and the ins and outs of recycling your tires. Learn while following this new green trend!

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If you’re like me, you dread tire shopping. Dread. So many kinds, so many types: All-season, winter, summer, hydro-whatever, skid-something… I glaze over at the mere sight of the racks upon racks of tires.  I know they are designed to help keep me safe and make my car handle better but to me they just look like rubber donuts.
Needless to say, I don’t shop for them as often as I should. In fact, I typically only replace them whenever I’ve run over something that’s required replacement instead of patching (which isn’t THAT often, I’ll have you know). 
I do it (or don’t do it) for the environment. I swear. 
As a child of the 80′s, I have been traumatized by images of fields bursting with discarded tires, black smouldering undulating plumes of smoke from tire fires and well, tire flower beds. 
In more recent history, we’ve come to realize the consequences of these ominous black clouds of smoke which release potent carcinogens like dioxins and furans –  some of the most toxic chemicals known to science. 
That’s where OTS comes in. OTS: Ontario Tire Stewardship, established in 2009 as part of the Ontario Waste Diversion Act, aims to help further educate the masses on safe disposal of their old tires as well as provide free disposal services throughout the province in an effort to reduce the amount of rubber that ends up in landfills or tire fires. Through the Used Tires Program, OTS reduces, reuses and recycles the 12 million tires sold annually in Ontario alone. 
12 million. 
Imagine: 12 million tires (or the 25 million which have been recycled through the Used Tire Program as of August 9th) irresponsibly chucked into fields, ditches, dumpsters and backyards because people were not sure how to safely get rid of them. 
Registered Collectors provide drop off locations in and around communities throughout Ontario where you can take up to four tires free of charge (Collectors can be located using their handy Tire Disposal Collector Map; I found four locations within walking distance of my house and nine within my hometown of approximately 4,000 people). Then once you’ve responsibly discarded your tires, you can breathe a little easier knowing you’ve donated your old wheels, which will move on to bigger and better things, like, say, rubberized playground surfacing, roofing shingles, a cute doormat or one of MANY Tire-Derived Products; the possibilities are endless, really.   

It’s crucial that we prolong the lives of our tires, my friends. With proper maintenance we can reduce our spending thereby reducing the number of tires that are recycled each year. 

With another change in season quickly approaching (notice I didn’t say winter is coming? Don’t punch me.) it’s a good time to check the wear on your all-season (or warm-weather) tires. Look for scuffs and gouges, check the tread depth (simple test: place a penny between the treads and if you can read “Elizabeth” beside the Queen’s head, your tires are likely worn) and rubber condition to see if your tires should move on to their new life as rubberized mulch or a mousepad. 
Interested in learning more? To find out more information about the Ontario Tire Stewardship program and to learn when OTS might be coming to your hometown visit www.greenmytires.ca.  Also discover some of the amazing Tire-Derived Products that are available. 

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photo credit: losibali_m on Flickr; borrowed under ShareAlike.
  • Erin Little

    Sara, yes, you still need snow tires. My Rav4 had studded snow tires to keep me safe. You can’t get studded tires (illegal south of the French River) but you DO need regular snow tires to stay safe. Quebec makes it mandatory for everyone from October 15-April 15th for ALL types of vehicles and there’s a good reason for it.

  • Sara

    Hey Sam – while were on the question of tires….do you know – if I have a four wheel drive on my new car, do I need to get snow tires??? (and I’ll be using your link to get rid of my 2 year old snow tires from old car if I can’t sell them!)

  • Jen

    So great to know that I can take this off my list of “things to feel guilty about”! Thanks for the info, Sam.

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