The other day I wrote a post on repurposing old soda cans. Today I read where the Environmental Protection Agency says drivers in the United States generate nearly 300 million used tires each year. This got me to thinking about how I could recycle old tires. Several ideas immediately came to mind.
I remember when we lived in South Africa that the use of tires to make sandals was very common. They simply cut out an outline of the foot from the side of the tire and attached cord or straps so that you could tie them to your feet. After a major disaster, this is an easy way to come up with shoes for your growing children. Depending on where you live, this will at least work during the summer.
Planters – for years I have grown vegetables in tires. The first thing I do is to wash the tire to get the road grim and grit off them. Then what I do is dig the soil loose in an area the size of a tire to a depth of about 6 inches. I then place the tire on this spot and fill it with soil and compost. I then plant my vegetables in the center of the tire. This really works well with plants that like warmth.
Some of the advantages I have found is that because the tires retain the heat from the sun you can start your plants earlier than in the ground. The tires help to conserve water and making weeding easier. You can even weed eat around the tires.
If you want to grow potatoes, plant them as you would any other vegetable. When the young potato plants are 3 – 4 inches high, add a second tire to the stack and add more soil, leaving the tops of the plants exposed. Continue covering the growing plants with soil until your stack is 3 tires high. Potatoes will be forming all the way up the stack of tires.
Tires can also be use to build retaining walls. The tires are filled with dirt or sand and sloped back against the ground that you wish to retain. This can be a dangerous project if you are attempting to build a wall over 4 feet high. You may want to get some advice from an engineer or someone with real expertise. I have seen the walls but have never built one.
Both the military and police recycle old tires by using them to construct shoot houses, since they can be used to make bulletproof walls. They normally use two rows of tires that are staggered to cover the weak areas between stacks.
Other uses include kid’s swings, making doormats and even setting your animals feed buckets in small tires to keep them from being knocked over. I have even seen where someone used old tires to roof there house.
If you have any other ideas on how to recycle old tires, please add your comments.