Rubber tires are the most difficult items to recycle and often end up in creeks, ditches or forest landfills across the country. Yes they can be recycled but sometimes there is a fee and if someone has several tires they might not want to pay this fee. Each state is different so be sure to learn more about recycling tires in your state and which landfills and recycling stations accept them by visiting Earth 911. Tires should NOT be burned because they produce hazardous smoke for our health and the environment. Instead consider reusing your old tires in your garden.
The stackable nature of tires makes them perfect for constructing a compost bin. Turn the earth and lay down a tire. When it gets full of compost material, add another tire. Repeat until it’s gotten as high as you want. When it has been allowed to decompose for about two weeks, take off the top tire and lay it on the ground next to your “bin.” Using a garden fork, remove the top layer of compost and put it into the tire on the ground. Repeat this until all the tires are re-stacked. You have essentially turned your compost upside-down, which is a great way to hasten decomposition.
Get an early start on your spring vegetables by starting them in tire planters (tweet this). Put down some raw compost (such as fresh manure) where you want to put the planter, and lay the tire on top. Then fill the tire with seasoned compost and sow your seeds. As the fresh compost beneath breaks down, it will generate heat that will encourage germination even if it has not warmed to spring temperatures yet. And the black rubber retains heat from the sun and the decomposition. If you stack on an additional tire or two and cover it with plastic sheeting, you can create a miniature greenhouse. This will give you quite a head start on the spring planting season.
Some plants have a tendency to take over a garden. Using a tire planter can help contain its tenacious habits.
Tires can be stacked like bricks and filled with gravel or sand to make very solid, stable retaining walls. The same method can be used to make a fence for your garden. They can also be laid on a hillside and filled with gravel or soil to stabilize an eroding slope.
We grew up playing in rubber tire sandboxes. If you live near a heavy equipment garage it’s possible they’ll even donate or deliver the very large tires to you. The larger rubber tires make excellent sandboxes for kids and help contain the dirt. The rubber does get very hot in the summer so place it in a shaded area and cover to keep the animals from using the sandbox as a litter box!
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