Most scrap tires are recycled. Here is some information about what happens to scrap tires. But eco-conscious drivers should also think of ways to reduce and reuse scrap tires. Reducing the number of tires you use and dispose will, of course, save money while helping the environment. Likewise, you can reuse the tires in ways that will save you the cost of buying other items.
How to Reduce Scrap Tires
You can reduce the number of scrap tires by replacing tires less often. High-mileage tires are available for most wheel sizes. Some low-end tires are rated to cover 40,000 miles, but 75,000-mile tires are widely available for less than double the price of 4,000-mile tires. Newer tires are also rated to 100,000 miles.
You can also make ensure the tires last to their rated mileage — and further — by driving in many of the same ways you would to maximize gas mileage. Avoid hard braking or quick starts at stop lights. Keep your tires at their recommended pressure rating (which should be listed on the tire). Note that over-inflated tires can also be a hazard and can put too much pressure and wear on your tires.
You can also reduce tire wear and make tires last longer by having a regular alignment check and having your tires rotated. The extra mechanics’ bills will not add up to the same cost as a new set of tires.
How to Reuse Old Tires
There are plenty of great uses for used tires around the home and garden. But first, here are a couple of cautionary notes.
First, tire swings can be a dangerous breeding ground for mosquitoes. You might consider hanging them flat, so the hole in the tire is parallel with the ground. Either way, you might want to drill several holes in the bottom of the tire to keep them from collecting rainwater.
Also, tires can contain heavy metals such as cadmium, so take care when using them as planters or other garden uses where they will be close to edible vegetables and roots. So, with the disclaimers out of the way, there are plenty of other good, creative uses for tires.
You’ve probably seen tires as bumpers around boat docks. Most of us aren’t building boat docks, but you can use the same principle in the garage. Protect your car while the kids are learning to drive by attaching a tire to the garage wall at the same height as your car bumper. Similarly, tires are often used as bumpers at Go-Kart tracks. A large backyard might be a great place for a Go-Kart track or bike course. Old tires could make the races a little safer.
Speaking of back-yard games, how about a home tetherball? Poured concrete in a tire can make a sturdy but mobile pole. Aside from a tetherball pole, it can also hold up a clothesline, a sunshade or a pup tent. For yet more fun, a large tractor tire can be filled with sand for a fun sandbox for small children.
The earlier warning about heavy metal only applies to edible plants. Tires have plenty of other garden uses, as planters or retaining walls. If you get creative, there are plenty of other options for keeping used tires out of the landfill and save yourself the cost of a new product.
Also, find out how the rest of your car can be recycled.
This post is part of the series: Recycled Tires
- Places to Recycle Tires
- Recycled Tires for Residential Floor Use
- Rubber Mats Made from Recycled Tires: How it Works and Where to Buy Them
- How to Reuse & Reduce Old, Scrap Tires