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Tire-Derived Fuel

Moving Closer to a Zero-Waste Future

A regenerative, circular economy is an integral part of the journey to a cleaner environment. That is why LafargeHolcim applies proven technologies to reduce emissions and work toward a zero-waste future. Globally, our ability to recycle materials has evolved over the years, and continued innovation allows us to sustainably recover energy, like using scrap tires as fuel.

What happens to used tires?

The recycling and reuse of scrap tires is an integral part of reducing the environmental footprint. Using methods like tire-derived fuel (TDF) are one way to help deliver sustainable solutions to protect the world for future generations.

Many used tires today are dumped into landfills or left in stockpiles. In 2019, 41.5 million tires were disposed of in landfills, where they will take hundreds of years to decompose.

These waste piles…

take away valuable space in overcrowded landfills from trash that can’t be recycled.


act as ideal breeding sites for mosquitoes that can carry diseases.

Image of fire

can be a catalyst for uncontrolled fires that are hard to extinguish and pollute the air, soil and water.

A New Life for Old Tires

In 2019, 263.4 MILLION scrap tires were generated across the United States. Luckily, there are many solutions for reducing the amount of scrap tires and their impact on the environment, including through recycling and re-use projects.

DIY planters or tire swings
Crash barriers on race tracks
Recycled rubber products
Fine mulch for athletic fields
Rooftops and pathways
Fuel for the manufacturing industry

According to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, used tires that don’t end up in a landfill are most often used for tire-derived fuel, ground rubber or civil engineering projects.

Creating Energy from Tires

The manufacturing industry has developed one of the largest – and oldest – markets in the U.S. for scrap tires, using them as a source of energy. Many factories can use this environmentally-sound alternative energy, known as tire-derived fuel (TDF), due to its high heat value. Out of the 263.4 million used tires generated in 2019, 101 million were diverted from landfills and used as TDF.

Where is TDF used?


Cement kilns


Pulp and paper mills


Electric utility boilers

Benefits of Tire-Derived Fuel

saves millions of tires from landfills in a safe and environmentally responsible way

keeps unsafe, reused tires off the road and out of the market

produces the same or more energy as other fuels due to its high heat value

leaves no leftover residue to be landfilled

can reduce emissions from CO2, sulfur and nitrogen

is a proven and widely recognized technology regulated by many states

From Scrap Tires to Fuel

Tire-derived fuel (TDF) is a proven technology that has been used in the U.S. for around 30 years. It is safe and widely recognized, including by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association as a viable option for reducing tires in landfills. Additionally, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) developed TDF standards in 2001, providing an industry-accepted strategy and acknowledging the importance of its proven and continuous use.

Many global markets have used this technology for more than 25 years as well, with many governments conducting environmental studies validating the benefits of TDF. For instance, in 2017, the Australian Tyre Recyclers Association (ATRA) published a report titled “Carbon Value Proposition, Resource Recovery using Tyre Derived Fuels” noting lower emissions from the use of TDF.

High temperatures achieve complete disintegration of scrap tires.

Mineral components are incorporated into the new product and kept out of the air.

TDF is highly regulated by most state environmental protection agencies.

But how does this technology work?

Energy recovery from material recycling in industrial processes is known as co-processing.

Vehicles on road.

Tires from every vehicle will eventually wear out.

Truck with tires

Scrap and whole tires have a high heat value and can be used as fuel.


After tires are gathered, a conveyor feeds them into a kiln.


Temperatures up to 2000°C ensure the tires quickly and completely disintegrate.

Powering a plant.

The recovered energy creates fuel to power a kiln or plant.

Continue the discussion on the challenges of used tires – and how tire-derived fuel is one method for recycling these materials – by sharing these graphics on social media.


Through processes like TDF, LafargeHolcim and other organizations are finding sustainable solutions to create cleaner communities every day. If you would like more information, please contact us.