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Old tires might appear like nothing more than a cumbersome, uninteresting piece of garbage. But wait. Before your cart them off to the nearest tire recycling plant, consider upcycling and giving those tires a new and improved purpose and special place in your home.

Upcycling vs. Recycling

Upcycling is a close cousin to more traditional recycling. Upcycling means reusing an old object to create a product with greater value or higher quality than the original product. Waste tire recycling involves breaking down tires into shreds, crumb rubber or powder. On the other hand, upcycled tires often remain intact and are painted, connected to wood or other tires to create useful objects, containers and toys.

Large machinery, such as tire shredders and mills, recycle tires, whereas upcycled tires spawn from fun and imaginative DIY projects. Whether you run a tire recycling business and want to display your love of tires or just have a few lying around after replacing the ones on your car, there are numerous ways to upcycle before you recycle.

Objects and Furniture Ideas

1. Tire Chairs

The easiest tire chair is a stool. Simply stack two tires on top of each other, nail or clamp them together and fill the top tire with webbing or a cushion. Alternatively, you can build more advanced outdoor furniture using metal frames to support one tire as the seat and one as the backrest.

2. Tire Flip Flops

To make a flip flop, cut the bead (the part of the tire shaped to fit the rim) off, leaving you with a round, flattish ring of rubber. Cut through the rubber so that it becomes a long strip. Outline the sole of a shoe on the inside surface and carefully use a strong knife to cut the shape out. Then, punch three holes in the rubber to attach the flip flop strap and use thinner strips of tire rubber or string to create the strap. Your friends will applaud your ingenuity, and your new flip flops will have fantastic traction.

3. Home Gym

The average passenger car tire weighs 27 lbs. A collection of various sizes of tires, from motorcycles to trucks, can provide a full range of weights. Fill tires will concrete to create heavier weights. Tractor tire flips work out all the same muscles as deadlifts and are arguably more satisfying. Many gyms stock tractor tires precisely for this purpose.

Gardening Ideas

1. Garden Boxes

Plant a small vegetable garden without tearing up your yard by filling tires with planting soil. Tire garden patches provide natural dividers between plants and can be stacked up to raise the garden bed to whatever height you prefer.

2. Hanging Flowers

The hollowed shape of a tire creates the perfect hanging flower pot. Attach the tire to a wall, veranda, or fence with a hook or rope and fill the bottom with potting mix. Hanging flowers such as petunias, lobelia, and hanging fuschia are stunning when they reach maturity. If you have limited yard space, hanging flower tires allow you to add greenery and life to your property. Don’t shy away from painting tires more cheerful colors if the black rubber appears unseemly.

3. Compost Container

If you’re looking into upcycling, you might also be a fan of composting. Composting bins are notorious for attracting unwanted rodents. The thick rubber of a tire is impenetrable to pests as long as care is taken to seal off the bottom and create a sound lid. You can easily increase the size of the bin by adding another tire to the stack.

Backyard Playground Ideas

1. Tire Swing

The most iconic upcycled tire project, tire swings offer a wonderful addition to any yard or park with large trees. You have the choice to rig the tire to hang flat with the ground or upright. The first person to ever upcycle a tire possibly used it to create a tire swing, and many now feature in favorite childhood memories.

2. Obstacle Course

If you have an assortment of waste tires to dispose of, the simplest way to upcycle them could be in an obstacle course. Set them just far enough apart to jump between. Lay larger ones upright to crawl through and stack others into stairs and bridges. Set your creativity free and have fun!

3. Teeter-totter

Cut a tire in half and attach a board to the sliced face to create a teeter-totter. Using spare rubber, create dampers on the bottom of the seats to protect users from sore tail bones. Often not included in playgrounds anymore, this traditional piece of playground equipment can be loads of fun when used with caution.

Upcycling tires play an important role in waste tire disposal. Tires can replace nonreusable plastic chairs, compost bins and children’s toys. After the children grow up or the vegetable garden becomes obsolete, the upcycled tires can usually still be recycled in a tire-shredding plant, further extending the use of the everyday object. After carrying us around the streets, tires can bring us together on outdoor chairs, garden patches and playgrounds. They may not be such an uninteresting piece of garbage after all. Which upcycling tire project will you take on?

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