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Bike tires not easy to recycle

Is it legal to throw old bicycle tires in the trash, or are they supposed to go the same way as car tires?

—Tom C., Eagle Point

While it probably isn't the most environmentally friendly idea to toss bicycle tires in the trash, Tom, doing so doesn't put you at risk of breaking any laws.

Bicycle tires can legally be thrown away with the rest of your household trash, according to Mary Fritzmann, program coordinator for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Automobile tires are subject to an Oregon law banning them from entering a landfill, and several programs exist statewide for recycling the tires.

The recycling of used car tires statewide can cost anywhere from $2.50 and up depending on the size of the tire and whether the rim is still attached.

Locally, tires can be taken to Rogue Disposal in White City and Recology in Ashland.

Fritzmann said that although it isn't law to recycle bicycle tires, it is an option, and there are several businesses in Oregon that can help you recycle.

That said, it seems most of those recycling programs are farther north, and no organized bicycle tire program exists in Southern Oregon, according to Devin Spencer, an employee of Medford's Cycle Sport bike shop.

"Recycling that I know of is pretty limited in Medford," said Spencer, adding that Cycle Sport sends their old tires up to Portland for recycling. Other local bike shops said they do the same.

If you are determined to recycle your old bike tires, Portland's Community Cycling Center has a program to take them in and send them to a company that reuses the rubber in asphalt and athletic tracks.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.