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How to up-cycle used tires into everyday items

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Tire Statistics

Tires are made up of approximately five gallons of oil, and other materials such as steel, fabric, wiring, and chemical compounds. Over hundreds of years these products eventually breakdown, but they do not biodegrade. They will continue to breakdown into microscopic pieces like plastic. As they breakdown, they leave behind residue that contaminates the soil leaving it damaged for years to come.

Over time this causes a staggering problem as landfills continue to fill up. Tires do not breakdown in a timely manner which causes backlog and over filling of landfills.

Unrecycled Tire Hazards

Keeping old tires on your property can be a breeding ground for mosquitos. Tires without rims provide the best environment for mothers to lay eggs, and the dark color of the tires absorbs heat providing an optimal living environment. As West Nile, Zika, and other mosquito derived viruses continue to spread throughout the US it’s important to get rid of old tires. They can become a haven for mosquitos carrying potentially life-threatening illnesses.

Additionally, tires can become fire hazards. When tires catch fire, or begin smoldering, they release an acidic thick smoke that is harmful to breathe. It is essentially the same smoke that is produced during an oil fire. This dangerous smoke can escape in the atmosphere creating holes in the ozone layer. The smoke is also harmful to children, asthmatics, elders, and immune suppressed individuals.

Keeping Tires Out of Landfills

Recycled tires make great DIY projects. After thoroughly cleaning and drying your tire, let your imagination run wild. For optimal cleaning, use a stiff bristle brush and tire cleaner. Apply a lot of pressure when scrubbing, and let the cleaner sit on the tire if needed. Once the tires are clean make sure they are completely dry before starting your project.

A simple and easy project to make is a pet bed. It’s important to thoroughly clean your tire for this project since it will be used by your pet. If you wish, add a coat of paint to the tire, or attach decorations or jewels to the outside. Simply add a comfy pillow in the center, and a blanket if your pet prefers. A simple and durable dog bed can be made in the matter of hours.

Tires also make excellent planters. The varying sizes allow for many different styles. Just like the pet bed, spray paint the outside of your tire to match any décor. Next, fill the inside with soil and add the flowers you wish to display. Additionally, you can add rocks or gravel as a first layer in the tire to help with drainage, then fill with soil and plant what you prefer.

There are so many creative ways to make tires into everyday items. They can be decorative pieces for your garden, pet beds, ottomans, and with enough tires, playground equipment. The important thing is to keep tire out of landfills, and to prevent the spread of mosquito-derived viruses.

Paul Arellano is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Lakin Tire, a scrap tire collector and recycler.

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