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Introducing Green Aggregate Fill (What is it?)

First State Tire Recycling manufactures and distributes a product line of recycled, shredded scrap tires called Green Aggregate Fill. This product line consists of 3 size ranges of shredded, recycled tires are also known as tire derived aggregate (TDA). The shredding process produces irregular shaped tire pieces, generally 2”-12” in length, depending on the selected size range. These pieces interlock under compaction, creating a permeable, but durable mat for use in civil engineering projects.

Green Aggregate Fill is a safe and responsible choice to provide environmental, economic and performance solutions in civil engineering projects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls the use of shredded, recycled tires “viable” and “useful”, recognizing they are a cost-effective option in these projects. Others have noted that Green Aggregate Fill (TDA) is a long-lasting replacement for lightweight fill or conventional aggregate in civil engineering applications. The many beneficial properties of Green Aggregate Fill are used to solve an array of civil engineering problems.

Projects using Green Aggregate Fill often save significant construction costs. One designer estimates a savings of 40% on nearly every project using Green Aggregate Fill over traditional materials.

Over 200 projects in Minnesota have been completed using Green Aggregate Fill. Satisfied customers frequently report improved conditions following the installation of Green Aggregate Fill, along with reduced long-term maintenance costs.

Click here for a Brochure about Green Aggregate Fill (TDA & R.-T.E.A.)

Learn more about Green Aggregate Fill:

Where is Green Aggregate Fill used?

Cities, counties, states, businesses, and private individuals have used Green Aggregate Fill (also known as TDA) in many applications since 1988. Projects commonly using this product include:

  • Roads
  • Embankments and road sides
  • Bridge abutment backfill
  • Driveways

    This private driveway remains solid more than ten years after installation of Green Aggregate Fill, even though it sits near a pond. Green Aggregate Fill improves drainage and prevents frost penetration in the road bed that could cause rutting and heaving during thaws.

  • Parking lots
  • Multi-purpose spaces

    The Minneapolis Convention Center green space sits atop its parking ramp. Green Aggregate Fill was used to reduce weight on the concrete ramp, improve drainage, and creat a multi-purpose green space.

  • Parks and recreational areas
  • Trails
  • Septic Systems
  • Rain Gardens
  • Landfills
  • Backfill against building foundations
  • Retaining walls
  • Stormwater chamber designs

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has approved and encourages the beneficial use of recycled tires in accordance with state statute and rule.

Green Aggregate Fill is a recycled product that can be utilized in projects seeking LEED and GREEN ROADS certification.

The physical properties of Green Aggregate Fill may be positive factors in developing improved environmental impact plans, as well. Possibilities include its use to mitigate vibrations near light rail lines, stormwater management, and the reduced need to harvest natural aggregate resources.

Success Stories

Here are just a few of the projects where Green Aggregate Fill was installed. Customers have praised the durability and effectiveness of the projects, as well as cost savings and environmental advantages. Click on the hyperlinks to see additional project photos.

The southbound I35E, Exit Ramp 171, constructed near Pine City in 1998, saved nearly $1 million and continues to serve the public today.

The entrance to Purgatory Creek Park, constructed in 2003, remains a vital public space in the heart of Eden Prairie supporting a veteran’s memorial, pavilion, garden and other structures.

A portion of 169th Ave in Ham Lake, built next to a marshy area in 2010, remains smooth and has the added insulating protection shredded tires provide when placed in the road sub-grade. Roads located in these conditions often experience frost heaves from the extra moisture that doesn’t drain properly under the road. Recycled shredded tires also improve drainage, often better than soils.

In 2000, Green Aggregate Fill was placed in the sub –grade of Lakeview Drive, between 41st and 42nd Avenues in Robbinsdale. It was used to help stabilize poor soils that promoted road damage. In 2013, the road is just beginning to show wear, some of which may be due to new construction along the street. In spite of this, residents can still visit Robbinsdale City Hall by traveling on a reliable road.

Visit Projects to see many more Green Aggregate Fill installation sites. Call Lex Reinke for more information at 651-226-0864 (cell) or 763-434-0578 (Office).

How does Green Aggregate Fill solve problems?

Green Aggregate Fill offers the following beneficial properties to solve civil engineering problems while preserving natural resources and out-performing some other strategies:

How is Green Aggregate Fill installed?

Green Aggregate Fill is buried as a layer in civil engineering applications. Additional layers may be geotextile fabric, other aggregate substitutes, soils, or traditional aggregates, depending on the design specifications.

Green Aggregate Fill is easily spread and compacted with routine construction equipment as seen in the photo above. Typically, caterpillars and bulldozers are used to gather the material after it is delivered by walking trailers. It is then spread over the site and compacted with an excavator in several rolling passes as seen in the video below. (In some applications, a drum roller is used for compaction.) As these vehicles ride over the fill, the pieces tend to interlock, orienting parallel to the horizontal shear plane as they form a mat-like layer.

“Dribbling” of tire pieces is reduced significantly by isolating fill-spreading, heavy equipment to the area holding the TDA. (Avoid moving this equipment in and out of other construction areas.) Simple maintenance of equipment such as cleaning tire pieces out of tracks ensures smoother operations, too.

To achieve the correct design depth following compaction, engineers and designers utilize approximately 50% more loose volume Green Aggregate Fill than regular aggregate in many applications.

First State Tire Recycling provides expert assistance on all projects to ensure clients meet their project goals! For assistance, call Tammy Schmitz at 612-750-2306 (Cell) or 763-434-0578 (Office).

Variety of Sizes to Get the Job Done

First State Tire Recycling manufactures and distributes a variety of sizes of tire derived aggregate (TDA) as part of its Green Aggregate Fill line. Engineers and designers choose the best size of Green Aggregate Fill to meet engineering needs on each project.

Generally TDA has the following beneficial properties:

  • 1/3 the weight of many soils
  • High permeability/ free-draining
  • Insulates 8 times better than gravel
  • Costs less than sand and gravel, in many instances

When purchasing Green Aggregate Fill (TDA) consider the following:

  • Costs vary, depending on project scope and the desired size of TDA.
  • Discounted prices are offered for large volumes, short delivery distances and when customers can provide a pre-staging area.
  • Typically, sizes range from 2 inches to 12 inches. Each load will include a variety of sizes, with the majority of pieces in the range specified by the engineer or designer.
  • Larger sized shreds are sometimes desired for their ability to interlock while some applications benefit from smaller tire shred sizes.

Recycled Tire Engineered Aggregate (R.-T.E.A.)

R.-T.E.A., is the largest size of Green Aggregate Fill. In addition to other Green Aggregate Fill qualities, R.-T.E.A. has the following general properties:

  • Light weight: 1/3 weight of many soils
  • Density: 20 lbs per cubic foot, loose volume
  • Nominal weight: 600 lbs per cubic yard, loose volume
  • Cost efficient: 75 cubic yards per load, loose volume
  • General length: 12”


Medium-sized Green Aggregate Fill.

Rubber Sewer Rock

Small-sized Green Aggregate Fill.

Why Use Green Aggregate Fill?

Projects using Green Aggregate Fill often save significant construction costs.

  • Reuse of material like Green Aggregate Fill reduces future maintenance costs.
  • Green Aggregate Fill preserves aggregate resources and often out performs virgin aggregates.
  • Roads and trails built with Green Aggregate Fill provide a smooth, safe ride for travelers.
  • The responsible choice to use Green Aggregate Fill improves the environment and makes a safer, stronger community for all of us!


Standards and recommendations for the use of shredded, recycled tires, vary according to project scope and details. Visit the following links to read current Minnesota law regarding the beneficial use of this material. Please note, statutes and rules use the terms “waste tire pieces”, “tire shreds” and “tire chips”. These terms all refer to shredded, recycled tire material such as that comprising Green Aggregate Fill.

Civil Engineering Applications Using Tire Derived Aggregate by Dr. Bruce Humphrey:

Civil Engineering Application: Use of Tire Derived Aggregate_State of Illinois

Scrap Tire News-TDA Overview

Rubber Manufacturers Association

CalRecycling Website and Video for Additional Information

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Website for Civil Engineering Uses of Scrap Tires

Army Corps of Engineers
Watch the Army Corps of Engineers video found at the link below to learn how roads are damaged by frost. In many cases, frost damage to roads can be prevented or reduced by installing Green Aggregate Fill to improve poor soil conditions and drainage, as well as add insulating properties.