Worldwide each year more than 3 billion tyres are thrown away. 20-25% Of these tyres are being reused for their original purpose after they have been retreaded (the worn treads of used tires are remoulded, so they are safe to use again). However, this process can only be done with tyres that are still in fairly good condition and the manufacture of retreading is under very strict regulations. When this is no longer an option, the tires are recycled.
This is what happens to the remaining 75-80%. Recycling is the process of converting certain materials into different materials and objects. Basically, we need to find new uses for them.
Besides really practical purposes (hot melt asphalt, crumb rubber modifier—recycled pavement, an aggregate in portland cement concrete, etc.), there are also a lot of super creative people who find ways of reusing tyres in the most brilliant ways.
Shredded tyres used in surfaces
One of the most popular surfaces in equestrian arenas is a mixture of shredded tyres, fibre and sand.
Initially, a pure sand surface looks great and is easy to keep clean. But after a while, it becomes really compact and loses its bounce. This has a bad impact on the horses’ feet and tendons.
By adding shredded tyre pieces on the top the sand the bounce can be maintained. These pieces are ideally 15-20mm. Over time they would disappear into the sand though, hence the addition of fibre, which slows this process down. The fibre also adds more flexibility to the surface. And the rubber does not have to be topped up as often as with a mix without the fibre. This is a long-term solution as the rubber does not decompose, does not blow away and dries quickly.
The process described above can be used in, for example, children’s playgrounds. In such places, Besides the mixture of sand and rubber, another popular application is (also made of recycled tyres) rubber tiles. These tiles are available in many different consistencies, colours and sizes. But that’s not all. Recycled tyres make fantastic low-cost climbing frames and swings for kids. All you need is just a little bit of paint and imagination!
Something for gardeners
Frequently tyres are, amongst other materials, used to spruce up the garden. Comfortable garden furniture is one of the more popular uses. By applying a bit of bright coloured paint the setup can be adapted to your personal taste. Bright pink or lime green, anything is possible. People also often make tyre planters – standing, hanging, swinging… you name it. All sorts. By stacking a few on top of each other, you can also use them for trailing plants that need a bit of height to stay off the floor.
A modern interior needs a tyre accessory
Even in the house, there are many ways of using recycled tires. The Internet is full of pictures of creative ideas that are easy to reproduce. Tables, ottomans, dog beds, plant pots, trash bins, lamps, chandeliers or Christmas decorations. There are even some really cool clothes and shoes out there. How about some bright pink summer flip-flops?
The opportunities are endless. Get your glue guns, knives and paint brushes, go out there and get creative with your tyres.