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Tire recycling

Updated on April 26, 2017

A challange for the future

Tires are one of the most difficult items to recycle today. But a solution is needed. Millions of tires are dumped yearly at landfill sites or illegal deposits.

This hub will try to show what you can do and why tires are difficult to recycle properly.

Why are tires hard to recycle?


Tires used to be made of natural rubber, but lately, due to the increased demand for rubber, they are now made from synthetic rubber. The tires can only be shred to tiny pieces with a big machine. The machines are very unstable and break more often than not.

If you are looking for an investment, this is an area that can make you good money. Scrap tires can be bought, recycled and sold again for much more.


To reinforce tires and make them more weatherproof, a technique to vulcanize tires was invented. Making them stronger also made them even more difficult to shred, and vulcanized rubber cannot be remelted resulting in less recycling and more dumping.

Methods to devulcanize the rubber are being developed now, but as with any research, these things take time.

Steel and Kevlar

To make things worse, bigger tires and heavy duty tires are reinforced with steel or Kevlar (mainly aircraft tires). The steel and Kevlar make it impossible to shred the old tires.

The process of recycling

Make a tire swing

What do you need

  • A clean old tire (wash it!)
  • Rope
  • A piece of rubber hose

Getting started

Cut the rope to the desired length. Measure from the branch to the height you want the swing to be, and add a little extra for knots.

Enter the rope into the hose, making sure the hose will rest on top of the branch to protect the branch and your rope.

Drill a big hole at the bottom of the tire so the rain can drip away ...

Throw the rope over the branch placing the rubber hose on top of the branch and tie it up. Leave some space open.

Get someone to hold the tire at the desired height (or something) and tie the other end of the rope to your tire.

Check the capacity of your swing. A thicker branch, closer to the trunk, can support the most weight.

Make your own tire sandals

There is a really good article on making your own sandals from old tires. You can find it at

What do you need

  • An old tire
  • Good knife
  • Some straps

Getting started

Read the sandal article here

Entertain the kids with a tire sandbox

What do you need

  • A big tire (the bigger the better?)
  • Sand

Getting started

Just put a washed & clean tire on its side where you want the sandbox to be, put cardboard cover on the bottom of the tire (inside the tire, big enough to cover the hole) and fill with sand. It's that easy.

If you want to make it a bit more attractive you can first paint the tire.

Sturdy basket

What do you need

  • Clean tire
  • Bolts

Getting started

Tires are made of very sturdy material including rubber and even steel or kevlar reinforcements. If you cut them up and use the straps to construct a basket or a mat, you can give it a second life as a heavy duty container.

Leave some more ideas

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