How to Shred Tires

By Alyssa Ideboen

Updated September 26, 2017

Shredded tires can be used as soft cover for playgrounds.
i playground surface image by Marty Haas from

Tire shredding is a type of business that processes private vehicle, commercial and industrial tires. Tires that have been shredded can be used for playground cover, rock substitute road filler or even fuel. Before you begin to shred tires, you must purchase a tire shredding machine. There are several different types of shredders available, with the cost starting at $100,000.

While starting a tire shredding business is expensive, there are methods to keep costs down. Using slit or thin tires cuts down on shredding time and the energy needed to process the tires. Shredding tires into large pieces is also economical. Small pieces cost more to produce than large pieces.

Choose the type of tire shredder that best suits your needs. Both new and used tire shredders are available. Portable and electric shredders are available with one, two or four shafts. One shredder will suffice for shredding rubber into 40 to 50 mm chips. To shred rubber into a smaller size (25 mm or less) you will need two or more shredders, depending on the amount of material you choose to process. To choose an appropriate shredder, you must first decide on the quantity and types of shredding you will be doing.

Set up a financial plan. Because tire shredders are costly, it is essential to come up with a budget to plan for the purchase of a tire shredder and the cost of maintenance.

Obtain a permit to operate the machinery. State laws pertaining to shredders vary. Many permits will require a specific size of property to operate a shredder, either indoors or outdoors. Typically, a tire shredding business requires between two and three acres of outdoor space or an indoor area of 10,000 to 75,000 square feet. Following regulations will save you money and help you avoid fines.

Secure proper transportation to transport tires to (and shredded material from) the job site. Make sure your vehicles are durable enough for heavy or bulky weight. Use dump trucks or small semi trucks to load product for transport.

Choose the finished product. Shredded tires can be chipped, ground up or crumbed. Shredded tires can range in size from four to 18 inches in size. Ground rubber can measure anywhere from .15 mm to 19 mm in size. Crumb rubber (the smallest pieces) ranges in particle size from 4.75 mm to .075 mm. Grinding rubber down into small particles may require additional machinery.

Purchase machinery. A conveyor belt to move the product will aid in transporting large quantities to a vehicle for shipment. Use a screener or magnetic separator to separate metal fragments from the rubber. You may need to hire workers to help with packaging or purchase a packing machine for finely ground rubber.

Items you will need

  • Financial budget

  • Tire shredder

  • Permit

  • Property location

  • Tires

  • Transportation


When setting up a financial plan, allow for extra costs. You may need additional machinery or permits to shred tires on a regular basis.