After tires wear out, they don’t have to become just another part of a pile in a landfill. There are several uses for recycled tires. These applications make sure that the rubber and other materials used in tires don’t go to waste after their treads wear out. Here are 7 of our favorite ways to reuse tires:
Artists and designers have been using recycled items to make clothing for years. If you’re looking to turn your wardrobe a little greener, you can sport some used tires as part of your sustainable fashion. Designers use old tires to make everything from shoes to belts.
If someone asked you to describe a tire, “beautiful” probably isn’t the first word that would come to mind. However, these pieces of art created from tires might change your mind. From sculptures to carvings, tires get pretty amazing makeovers after their time on the road ends.
How many times have you walked past a landscaped area with patches of mulch covering the soil around the plants? You may think of mulch as just a layer of wood chips or compost, but there’s also another way to conserve the moisture and fertility of the soil around plants — you guessed it. Tires! Several companies manufacture rubber mulch made from old tires. It’s effective at insulating the soil to retain both moisture and warmth.
4. Industrial Fuel
The EPA doesn’t define using tires for industrial fuel as recycling, but it is a good way to repurpose these tires instead of sending them straight to the landfill. The EPA says that 130 million scrap tires were used as tire-derived fuel in 2003. That’s 45% of all the scrap tires generated that year. Tires pack quite an energy punch when used as fuel too — they produce the same amount of energy as oil and 25% more energy than coal.
5. Playground Equipment
As kids, most of us took our fair amount of tumbles on the playground. The skinned knees and splinters caused by wood chips and gravel were never very fun. That’s part of the reason that the EPA recommends playground surfaces that contain 90 to 100% postconsumer rubber or plastic. The more cushioned surface is both sustainable and provides a softer landing for those inevitable falls.
6. Athletic Fields
Recycled rubber from car tires is safe for use in artificial turf fields and tracks according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health. Schools that choose to use artificial turf can contribute to a more sustainable world by reusing tire rubber instead of manufacturing fields and tracks out of new materials.
The EPA estimates that 220 million pounds of crumb rubber are used each year in rubberized asphalt. Florida and California use the most asphalt rubber, consuming about 80% of all asphalt rubber in the United States. Although it doesn’t rank in the top two, the state of Texas does use rubberized asphalt on some of its roads. The EPA says that this special asphalt reduces road maintenance and lowers road noise.
So there you have it. This is just a handful of ways that tires can still be of use long after they’re not safe to drive on. Do you know where your tires go after you have them replaced? Talk to your service advisor about tire recycling options.