The United States discards about 290 million tires each year, according to a publication by Earth911, which also notes that each tire needs up to 80 years to decompose. That's a whole lot of rubber waste taking up a lot of space, so it's no wonder that more than half of U.S. states do not allow tires to be dumped in landfills. Instead, the tires must be taken to approved facilities to ensure that they are recycled into rubber mulch to be used in playground covers, running tracks, and artificial turf.
They can also be used in several home and garden projects. DIY blogger Katie from Addicted 2 DIY created a fabulous, three-legged planter from one discarded old tire. "I love the challenge of coming up with ways to reduce waste," she writes. "If you don't believe me, you should see my scrap wood pile." That pile provided the wood scraps she needed for the tire planter, including the round end of an old spool.
In addition to the old tire and scrap wood, the jigsaw, drill and adhesive Katie needed were also items that she had on hand. The other items she needed were 200' of sisal rope, waterproof stain, a plastic plant tray and various nuts, bolts, screws and brackets.
Katie got busy with her tools and created the round base of the planter with the wood, then she attached it to the tire. The sisal rope was attached next -- she advises a strong adhesive that will stand up to weather, as hot glue did not last long for her.
Next, she sanded and stained the legs in a color that matched other furniture. After that, it was just a matter of attaching the legs and filling the tire with flowers -- gorgeous! Katie's detailed instructions can be found at Addicted 2 DIY, along with tips for making the job easier.
The durability and flexibility of old tires make them ideal for upcycling. Particularly if your area doesn't have a nearby recycling center that accepts tires, consider re-using them for projects involving water, like a handy garden hose caddy or a beautiful pond. Stacking them creates all kind of possibilities, including garden tool storage or a brightly colored patio table.
Earth911 reports that tires in landfills take up an enormous amount of space (most of it empty space!) and can damage the landfill's protective liner, causing soil and water damage. Let's do whatever we can to keep as many of those 290 million used tires out of landfills this year!
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