Used tires fill local landfills, presenting an environmental health challenge for many communities. According to the EPA, 290 million scrap tires are produced annually in the United States. New technologies, however, are allowing many communities to recycle used tires into playground and road construction materials. Used tires are also a great resource for projects at home. If you can't recycle your used tires, consider putting them good use with one of these at home projects.
The classic tire swing is still a favorite with children of all ages. A rope, tree and used tire are all you need to create a simple tire swing. Hang the tire vertically from a tree or other solid structure, or hang it horizontally so that kids can stretch out across it. You can make a more complex swing by cutting away about a third of the tire. A child can then sit upright inside the tire to swing.
Grow your potatoes inside used tires. Place one tire flat on the ground. Fill it with soil and compost and plant several seed potatoes. When the potatoes have produced about a foot of foliage, add a second tire on top of the first and fill with more soil and compost. Leave approximately a third of the potatoes' leaves exposed. You can repeat the process once more before allowing your potatoes to bloom and the foliage to die back. Then it's time to harvest.
Used tires can be cut into garden border barriers. Or use a scrap tire around the base of ornamental trees to make mowing and line trimming easier. Since tires break down slowly and are exceptionally durable, they can survive being nicked by line trimmers or run into by mowers and other landscaping equipment. Paint your tire for a less industrial look in the garden. Note that you will need a heavy-duty utility knife, circular saw or band saw to cut your tire. Always use appropriate safety protection, such as goggles, when working with power tools.
Fashion your next pair of summer sandals from a used tire. You'll need to cut the tire to give you a flat section of rubber. Use a pair of shoes to trace a pattern onto the rubber. Cut the pattern out, drill holes on both sides of the sandal to attach a piece of cord or rope as a strap, and just like that, you have a new pair of sandals that will not wear out easily.
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