How to Choose a Tire for Scrap and Recycling 

The harsh conditions found at transfer stations and scrapyards place an enormous burden on the equipment operating there and its tires. Tires used in scrap and recycling must contend with challenging surfaces, heavy loads, puncture-prone environments, and often long duty cycles. Selecting a tire matched to the demands it faces can provide a multitude of benefits.

Galaxy Solid

Application-Specific Tires Pay Off

Material handling tires are the largest consumable expense of equipment working at scrap yards, transfer stations, and recycling centers. The use of application-specific tires—purpose-built for the conditions they operate in and the jobs they’re required to perform—can help ward off excessive tire spending and maximize your investment in them. 

Think of tires as an investment rather than an expense. The best tire investments deliver the most hours per service per dollar invested. The right set of tires can deliver further benefits—for example, they can improve the efficiency and productivity of operations by reducing downtime (such as a machine being out of service for maintenance or a piece of equipment sitting inactive while waiting for the purchase and installation of new tires).

Considerations For Choosing Scrap/Recycling Tires 

Three major factors come into consideration when choosing a tire for equipment like loaders, forklifts, and skid steers working in waste handling: surface conditions, potential hazards, and duty cycle. 

Surface Conditions 

Conditions vary between scrap yards, transfer stations, and recycling centers, however, most equipment will be working on hard, abrasive surfaces like asphalt and concrete. These surfaces are rough on tires; consequently, many waste operations turn to super-tough solid tires—which can last three times as long as their pneumatic counterparts when working on hard surfaces, thanks in part to their abundance of rubber for fighting off wear. Tread pattern is also important, with hard surfaces better suited to smooth and block treads—like our Galaxy Super Smooth SDS, Hulk SDS, and LHD 510 SDS—rather than the bar-type lugs of an R-4 tire, which can wear rapidly when used on improved surfaces. 

Galaxy Solids

While waste-handling tires working on hard surfaces need to resist abrasion, those operating on soft surfaces like dirt and mud must deliver traction and flotation. Many operations turn to pneumatic tires for use on equipment running on unimproved surfaces. Foam-filling bias tires like our Galaxy Beefy Baby III are popular with operations looking for improved protection from punctures. 


There’s no shortage of risks facing tires working in the waste industry. Scrap metal, broken glass, and debris can cause punctures and tears; uneven surfaces and potholes can lead to impact damage; and liquids and chemicals can speed up degradation. 

In general, puncture-proof solid tires are the go-to option for equipment working in environments with improved surfaces where there is a high likelihood of a blowout or puncture. Conversely, pneumatic tires are better suited to unimproved surfaces where punctures are less likely. 

Duty Cycles

Heat is a tire’s worst enemy—too much heat weakens the bonds between rubber and components like plies and belts and ultimately shortens its service life. Pneumatic bias tires are a great choice for equipment with short duty cycles, however, radials are better suited for longer ones (in excess of 100 yards) or machines that spend a considerable amount of time on the road.  

Solid tires are excellent at standing up to coarse surfaces and sharp debris, but pneumatic radials are great for dissipating heat, when you have machines traveling long distances, at high speeds, and working constantly. 

Pneumatic tires, and radials in particular, also deliver a more comfortable ride than their solid counterparts. This lessens wear and tear on equipment and operators and can result in big gains across an operation. Consider how much happier, healthier, and more productive an operator is at the end of an eight-hour shift if they haven’t been bounced around the entire time. 

Learn More About Galaxy Solid Loader Tires

Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America (YOHTA)

Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America's Galaxy offers a broad range of application-specific tires for the scrap, recycling, and waste industries—from long-lasting solids to high-performance radials to workhorse bias tires. Your local YOHTA dealer or rep can help you find the ideal tire for your operation and equipment and ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment in tires.