25 Rad Items Made from Reclaimed & Recycled Tires

Strong and durable, the rubber used to make tires has many uses long after the tires are no longer fit for the road. Unfortunately, more than 290 million tires are dumped or tossed into landfills each year in North America alone. If only more people completed brilliant recycling projects like these 25 examples – including jewelry, flooring, shoes and entire houses – we could slash that figure significantly.

Planters

(images via: recaptured charm, lattices)

Stack tires and fill them with earth to make simple raised planters that cost next to nothing; the heat absorbed by the black rubber helps plants like potatoes and tomatoes thrive. Another idea hangs tires on a vertical surface, filling just the bottom portion with soil, to create unusual wall planters.

Rugs & Floor Mats

(images via: we upcycle, retiredmats)

Both vehicle tires and bicycle inner tubes can be transformed into durable, waterproof, non-slip surfaces for indoor and outdoor applications. Etsy seller ReTIRED Mats weaves strips of reclaimed tire rubber around metal frames. Bicycle inner tubes, as demonstrated above, is even flexible enough to crochet.

Says crafter Michaela, “After several attempts I found out that it’s the easiest way to use a tent peg. I cut out the valves and then slit the tubes lengthwise. Washing the tubes has to be done thoroughly because the valves are covered in a thick layer of powdered talc from the inside. Then you have to cut the tubes in stripes and either tack (like I did it) or sew them together. The result is a long “thread” which you just crochet and then you’re done.”

Jewelry & Belts

(images via: trilliumartisans, julienjaborska, madeforfun, craesnyderindustries, andrewdietch)

Earrings, bracelets and belts get a tough urban look from recycled tires, even when used to create delicate leaf shapes and folded layers of ribbon. As belts, bicycle tires are still recognizable, perfect for cyclists who want to display their love for riding to the world.

Bike Stand

(image via: recyclart)

Tires were half-buried in the ground to make this clever and convenient recycled bike stand. With this simple solution, the bicycle’s tire could be locked to the tire in the ground to secure it.

Parquet Flooring

(image via: apokalupsabotek.se)

Who would have thought that recycled tire flooring could be so stylish? Swedish company Apokalyps Labotek takes some of the 4 million tires that are disposed of in that country each year and grinds them into a powder, which is then mixed with recycled plastic and formed into flooring.

Bags & Wallets

(images via: trigo, blowuponlinevintage, rubberpieces)

It would take an awful lot of abuse to break or puncture a purse or wallet made out of reclaimed tire rubber, so these bags should last virtually forever. Etsy sellers Trigo, BlowUp Online Vintage and RubberPieces show just how versatile this material can be.

Swings

(images via: inhabitots)

Of course, tire swings are nothing new, but they’re no longer just as simple as screwing on some bolts and chain. Check out these incredible creature-shaped tire swings that practically double as garden art.  Wildlife Creations cuts and bolts tires into dragons, sharks, horses, dogs, elephants, dinosaurs and more.

Playgrounds

(images via: maryland environmental service, inhabitat)

Animal-shaped tire swings are awesome, but what happens when you decide to make an entire playground out of reclaimed tires? With some creative thinking, the possibilities are practically endless.  Two examples include a fun scrap tire dragon in Maryland, and a ‘Rubber Tree’ design by AnneMarie van Splunter installed in Thailand for refugee children.

Footwear

(images via: simpleshoes.com, instructables)

All of the qualities that make rubber tread ideal for tires also make this material perfect for the soles of shoes. The shoe company Simple Shoes includes reclaimed tires in many of their eco-friendly designs. You can also make your own hand-crafted recycled sandals from a bicycle inner tube and a scrap of used tire, as explained at Instructables.

Furniture

(images via: wallacegardens, bikefurnituredesigns)

Furniture made from reclaimed tires and bicycle wheels ranges from elegant and modern to funny and kitschy. The Tired Lounge chair by Leo Kempf weaves strips of tire rubber into upholstery for a rocker, while Bike Furniture Design comes up with crafty uses for practically every part of the bike – including, of course, the tires.

Roof Shingles

(images via: useitagain.soup.io)

You can now purchase commercially fabricated roof shingles made from recycled rubber – or you could go DIY like this ambitious homeowner, who cut strips of tires and arranged them into interesting patterns on his roof.

Houses

(images via: duncankinney, greendiary)

Tires are a central component of earthships, which are sustainable, self-sufficient homes made of recycled materials. Packed with dirt, the tires often form the foundation and walls of these free-form houses. Reclaimed tires can also be used as extremely inexpensive building materials . Argentine architect Carlos Levinton designed dome houses for Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation.

Sculptures by Yong Ho Ji

(images via: scrappedcraps)

Korean artist Yong Ho Ji has gone above and beyond all of these innovative re-uses for old tires with a sculptural series that binds strips of used tires together with synthetic resins. His complex works, depicting humans and animals, makes a statement about humanity’s responsibility for nature.

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