Durham News

Durham recycles nearly 10 tons of tires to help prevent Zika virus

Thanks to Durham residents there are now 975 fewer places for mosquitoes and the diseases they carry to flourish with the recycling of thousands of pounds of old tires earlier this summer.

As part of the Durham Tire Recycling Drive held July 9, residents dropped off 975 unwanted tires from their yards, diverting approximately 19,455 pounds of material from the community’s waste stream and decreasing the number of potential mosquito breeding locations in Durham.

Durham residents who missed the Tire Recycling Drive can still drop off up to five used tires (off the rim only) at no charge at the City of Durham’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center, located at 2115 E. Club Blvd., during the center’s normal operating hours.

While there are still no locally acquired mosquito-borne Zika cases, there have been at least 25 known travel-associated cases in North Carolina according to the Durham County Department of Public Health.

Limiting exposure to mosquitoes by reducing breeding sites, like old tires, is an extremely important part of Durham’s effort to limit the spread of Zika virus. Old tires and other items that hold standing water, including bird baths, containers and gutters, encourage mosquito breeding and the diseases they may carry. With increased attention and concern about the effects of Zika Virus, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the department are encouraging people to decrease mosquitoes around the home through removing sources of standing water.

According to Erin Victor, Keep Durham Beautiful sustainability specialist, the tires collected collected last month will be put to good use since old tires can be recycled into a number of different products, including rubber mulch for playgrounds and landscaping as well as rubberized asphalt concrete (RAC).

“RAC is considered a cost-effective, durable, and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional asphalt used to pave roads,” she said. “So, not only did these residents get rid of mosquito-breeding locations in their yards, they were also able to repurpose their used tires, which is wonderful for our environment.”

The July 9 Tire Recycling Drive, a city-county collaboration, was a partnership among Keep Durham Beautiful, City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department, City of Durham Neighborhood Improvement Services, City of Durham General Services Department, Durham County General Services Department, and the Durham County Department of Public Health.


The city of Durham’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center, at 2115 E Club Blvd., accepts tires from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tire retailers/haulers with DENR certification may bring tires at no charge only if all the tires are off the rim. Copies of car titles or E-500G tax forms may be required as proof of eligibility for free disposal

The fee for all others is $91 per ton.