A century of vehicle ownership in South-East Michigan has built enormous deposits of rubber tires, strewn and stashed around Detroit and nearby cities. Midtown-based BSG Tire Recycling has spent the past 12 months sinking its teeth into this backlog, processing tires into re-usable rubber mulch.

Started by practicing attorney Ethan Dunn in October 2022, BSG is committed to diverting 100% scrap tires from landfill. “The idea for our company was birthed after seeing the devastating effects of illegal dumping of scrap tires in the City of Detroit. Inside of abandoned homes, commercial buildings and even open fields,” their website states. Goals of the for-profit business are threefold:

  1. Reduced CO2 emissions
  2. Improved the durability of roads and infrastructure
  3. Improve lives by creating a safer places to work and play

After gnawing through 200,000 tires to create their first workshop in an industrial warehouse three miles north of Detroit’s Downtown, BSG are now at a second site processing thousands of tires each week. They are made of a team of eight, with Dunn and former colleague Tony Smith also taking a management role.

Shredder working from right-to-left

Processing tires

The licensed collection and processing of scrap tires forms the frontend of the operation, with the sale of rubber mulch to construction companies generating profitability. The wire-free mulch will then be used as aggregate and can be dyed to suit surface needs, especially with the green infrastructure agenda to increase the porosity park areas.

Processed mulch with red-dye version in background

Tires across Michigan

10 million scrap tires are produced in Michigan each year, with stockpiles in the millions. On a monthly basis, there is a need to dispose of nearly 900,000 used tires across the state.

State-level initiatives from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) manage a Scrap Tire Program to encourage correct disposal prohibits tire shops. Businesses with a stockpile of greater than 500 can be fined.

For an example of illegal tire dumping in Detroit, see Sea of Tires recording on YouTube (the disposal has now been corrected).

Learn more about BSG Tire Recycling and bsgtires.com