We have a barn full of old tires that we "inherited" when we purchased our property. We have called around to tire recycling centers, but they want so much per tire. Does anyone know how we can dispose of them safely and economically?
Stephanie - Saline, Michigan
Editor's Note: Here is advice from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own tips here. Please do not post your personal information as this is not a resource for finding or getting rid of tires, just an information source.
A friend of mine brought hers to Costco and they took them at no charge.
They make great containers for container gardening flowers and veggies. Also line the inside and make a great birdbath or bird feeder. Use them as edging around trees. If they are truck or car tires, try putting an ad in the paper. Many people (myself included) would love to have a few of those huge things for planters.
Erin - Toledo, Ohio
If you lived near me, I'd have you bring me a bunch of those old tires! They make great potato towers! Stack up two or three, fill with layers of straw, compost, soil, newspaper, etc, and plant you potatoes there. At harvest time, you just pull down the tires, and there are your potatoes, no backbreaking digging. Then, mix the composted material into your regular bed. (I'm working toward having mounded beds, rich in humus.)
The towers also make convenient places to sit in the garden, and let your back unkink after hoeing or hand-weeding. It is so nice to relax and enjoy looking at the fruit of your labors! I plant some flowers right next to the potato towers. (I choose marigolds, which are known to deter many garden pests. When I am resting, the marigolds are far enough below my nose that I don't get overwhelmed by the smell.)
If you put the towers at the corners of small beds, you can use them to support a fence. Just wrap the fence material around and use a stick or something to hold the overlap closed. You open the gate when you want in, and close it to keep out rabbits, dogs, small children, etc.
Rose B, in North Carolina
Beautiful Hanging Planters
I was in Curacao several years ago and they made beautiful hanging planters for the patio or deck out of old tires. They cut them and then painted them to look like a parrot. They were great. I wanted one so badly, but due to the weight of the tire they were quite heavy to hand carry on airplane trip home and I didn't have a container to put in so I could ship. If she could get the pattern and make them I would be the first to buy one.
Here'a a number for RecycleNet Help Line: (519) 767-2913. They may offer you some help with finding someone in your area who will recycle them.
I looked for uses for old tires and could find lots of articles about using them for repaving work but only the above link on crafts. If anyone else has some good uses, please send them in.
Susan from ThriftyFun
Kids Play Space
If you have a barn full of tires than my suggestion will not be practical for getting rid of most but it could get rid of at least one (if you have children or grands, that is)! Growing up, some of my fondest memories were of swinging on a tire swing!
You can hang it sideways or up right. All you need is a tree with a limb large enough to support the tire and the children's weight. Place a small board inside the rim where you would want it to hang from, drill through the tire AND the board. But a large eye hook type bolt and screw it through the tire and board (the boards purpose is to keep the bolt from pulling through. This should help you to understand what I'm trying to explain).
Then tie a long sturdy rope onto the end of the bolt. Throw the other end of the rope over the limb and secure it. Or just tie a rope completely around the tire and then tie the other end around the limb. Bound to provide hours of enjoyment!
Other ideas could be to bury several of the tires just a little and making a "tunnel" for kids to crawl through. We have a park around here that even has picnic tables made with the big tractor tires!
If there are any good ones, I would suggest yard-saling them, cheap. This would be tires that have some tread on them and no holes or cords hanging out etc. If you live in a rural area, farmers or ranchers might take some of them off your hands for tires for wagons, hay sleds, etc. that they use around the place. This would be those that had some goody in them, of course.
Another thing ranchers in our area use them for is salt-box tires. They cut the bead off one side and then turn the tire inside out. This is then nailed to a board to close the other side, and then they are used out in the pastures for salt or mineral for the cattle.
My wife and I bought our dilapidated house full of junk and there were over 20 tires around the property. Well, we painted them red, white and blue. Screwed them together and made an obstacle course for my sons to run through
Recycle as Playground Ground Cover
A lot of companies have permission from the EPA to shred old tires to use for playgrounds. The soft spongy rubber is better on little knees than gravel. I would call around and see if anyone would come get them!
Donate To Schools
You might try calling High School football coaches. They use old tires as an obstacle course for practice.
Try Selling Them to a Used Tire Shop
My parents owned a used tire shop and have now passed it to me and my husband. It's been in business for 20 years. If you know of a used tire shop in your area some are willing to give you a certain price for decent threaded used tires. We give $5.00 a tire for good 14' sized tires. I recommend looking in your phone book for a used tire shop. There are also waste companies that except used tires for free.
You can put ads for free in: www.Craigslist.org or www.oodle.com picks up some local papers. You can build HOUSES with tires. Yes, you can. I think the link is something like Earthship.com.
You can use them on go-carts tracks. They use old tires for bumpers to keep the carts on the tracks. Also, being from a farm community, farmers use tires to hold huge plastic tarps on their silage. They love used ones for their hay wagons and/or machinery. There are so many ways to recycle old tires. If you have any of these options around you give them to the go-cart tracks or farmers or sell the tires to them for barely anything and you will get rid of your tire problem!
This may be kind of late, but I know as a former athlete that flipping the big huge tractor tires are a real good work out for explosiveness. So if you have tires like that to get rid of, I would talk to track and field or football coaches to see if they want any.
You can use them to grow your garden. Really! Using tires, like planting pots, allows you to get a jump start on Spring planting because it keeps the soil much warmer.
I have an entire garden plan of tires. Some cut into designer planters. Surround the "tire garden" with a small garden picket fencing to keep neighbors from seeing it. Just search the internet for "gardening in old tires" for numerous ideas and photos.
More Uses For Old Tires
Here is an article on that topic that is already on ThriftyFun. Check it out!
My dog Bashful and I took a little El Paso hike and found/adopted a tire for my cactus. It was a fun recycle art/craft project/activity. Using one less tire dumped in nature we turned it into something cute for the garden. At least we think so!
Small raised garden beds save energy, water, and growing medium! Looking for ways to conserve energy and not dig more than I have to, I covered a large rectangular area with old garden cloth, large pieces of corrugated cardboard, etc.
Old tire gardening again, not getting much feedback yet. I thought of using a pool liner, but after looking up PVC, which I think it's made of I decided the rubber might be safer. But I just might do heavy aluminum foil. It is not very tough, but you don't have to touch it after placing. I don't do any cooking in it, but what's wrong with it as a liner? I've got 23 lovely planters set up and hidden with some pretty fancy stone wall, I need to get them planted soon! Please help.
I dont know where you live but if you have very hot summers, you can make a solar oven with a tyre to actually cook food - for free - by just using the sun. There should be plenty of instructions on the internet.
Hubby cut old tires down one side, so you could open them up, then placed around base of trees. They will hold the mulch in without letting it get all over the place, and provide a bumper to keep the mower, weed eater from harming the trunks.
I had no idea what you were talking about so I googled "parrot tire plant" and behold, pictures came up of tires being cut to look like parrots and having plants placed inside them! What a cool idea! So I have no idea how to do that except I would pick a planter that looked the most desirable and cut away. Try to see how that tire artist did it and just go for it. Good luck!
I read some of the tips that Sandi found, but, in my opinion, the easiest thing to do would be to find old tires that have been sitting out in fresh air and sunlight for some time. They will smell less.
If you are talking car tires you are in for some work. Xar tires have steel going through them so you are not just cutting rubber, you are cutting steel. If you had a big enough pair of steel shears that might work, if you are strong enough, but you are probably going to hurt you hands.
Ways to reuse old tires as posted by the ThriftyFun community.
Mosquitoes Love Tires
Please don't leave old tires laying around, they are mosquito breeding grounds if they are allowed to catch rain water. Store them indoors somewhere until you figure out what you want to do with them. If you do choose to discard them, check around. Where I live, you can't just put them out with the garbage, but the city offers an annual "tire amnesty day" (usually around Earth Day) where they will take them at no charge, and they are recycled.
By Becki in Indiana
Beware of Cadmium Poisoning
Just a caution about growing food in tyres. Tyres contain cadmium which fixes the colour in rubber. Cadmium, though little talked about, is one of the more poisonous of the metals in our environment. Potatoes are known to accumulate cadmium, as do cabbages, carrots, radishes, lettuce, turnips, tobacco, cocoa and peanuts. Obviously potatoes are a concern because they form a large part of most people's diet. As is the case with all heavy metal poisoning, the early symptoms are not noticed until it is too late.
Old Tires Are Safer
I was reading about using old tires and they discussed chemical leaching. One thing they said was that the tires *were* old so that they had had lots of time under adverse condition to oxidize and vent harmful gases and chemicals. That is why new tires smell bad and old ones typically do not. I found this info and a lot more on tire houses at http://www.touchtheearthranch.com This was in the FAQ section. I'm quoting:
"The surface of used tires has been subjected to years of exposure to oxygen by high speed rotation in the atmosphere. This exposure causes a phenomenon called oxidation. Oxidation 'interlocks' the surface molecules with oxygen and 'out-gassing' (fly-away molecules of synthetic rubber) is considerably limited, if not stopped completely. It's the new tires that stink/outgas, they just need to "rust" for a while, before they are suitable for use as a building material."
By Jennie in MT
Hanging Table or Planter
I made a hanging table with a tire. I bought a wood round the size of the tire. I drilled 4 holes through the wood and the tire. and hung it with heavy duty chain. I then hung the chains over a strong tree branch and bolted the chain together. I cut small holes in a couple of places in the wood for cup holes. I painted and sealed the wood. I now sit under the tree and even with the wind the glasses of iced tea don't slip off. I'm going to make another one as a hanging planter for shade loving plants. Same idea but smaller round of wood inside the tire to cover the bottom, a few drain holes and plant. Hang the same way as the table.
Build With Tires
Tires filled with earth and plastered over to create a walled enclosure with a roof will ensure the room made will take excess heat away from the room and, in times of cold, bring extra heat into the room. Such is the power of the tyre, no more lengthy power bills.
Horse Tire Swing
I don't know how they do it, but I have seen where they take an old tire and cut it to make a tire swing that looks like a horse (complete with stirrups). It was at our local petting zoo.
Planters With Inside Out Tires
In Spain, I saw beautiful displays of geraniums in planters that were made from old car tires. They just cut through the middle all the way round and turn them inside out so they look like old fashioned egg timers. Paint the outside white, line the top part with plastic, stick in some soil, plant up and away you go!
I've seen a beautiful strawberry planter made of tires. Stack them pyramid-style, so that they overlap leaving sections of the insides of the tires open for planting strawberries. Yum! The one I saw had the outsides of the tires painted bright colors.
You can use whole tires, just like block walls staggering them. Start off with a level surface, dig down if you have to and start your first row, making sure it is level from one end to the other. Now comes the hard part, you have to pack each tire with soil and I mean tightly. I use a short handled sledge hammer. When you get the first row, done drive a 24 inch piece of 3/8 rebar at the back of each tire. Start your next row, staggering the tires so the lines do not match up and do the same thing all over. I have done one wall 90 feet long and 12 feet high 8 years ago and it is still solid as a rock. You need to plant a high fibrous root plant in each tire, I like red honey suckle as it cascades and hides the tires and the wall but monkey grass lariope does well also.
We found a picture and want to replicate it. You take 2 or 3 old tires and place them one on top of another with a round of different shaped wooden board and either paint it or cover it with faux diamond plate. Use it as a nightstand or table top stand for a room or guys area.
By Canadian Momma
Making a Planter
I have used old tires for planters and it works good. Just scallop around the tire and turn it imside out.
When I was a little girl, my mom got a hold of a huge tractor tire, laid it flat on the ground and filled it up with play sand and we had a fun sand box! You can put a tarp over it when not in use to keep it from being the local "kitty box".
Retaining walls on steep sloping land to prevent erosion - partially buried and planted into - the roots hold it all together.
Growing potatoes - as the plant pops up add another tyre and more soil/mulch - to harvest just remove the tyres one by one
As a raised garden bed - arrange 2-3 tyres deep, as many tyres as you need for the size shape you want. As you lay each layer fill with good garden soil. The height/curved shape adds visual interest and the tyres themselves are quickly covered with foliage. The roots will find their own way between the tyres if necessary.
As insulation - walls of a garden shed/root cellar - lay on top of each other in a staggered pattern like bricks - fill with earth to stabilise.
Garden swing - tied to a sturdy bough with rope.
Decorative planters - there is a way to cut old tyres so they form a planter - there will probably be a link on the net as its impossible to describe without pictures!
Tractor/large truck tyres can form a quite dramatic garden bed just filled with soil and used on their own - you can paint the outside to blend in with your garden.
To define a bike riding course - for corners/chicanes.
For edging garden beds - pleasing scalloped shape if cut in half circles.
Paddling Pool - drape a shower curtain over the centre of a large truck tyre and fill with water to make an instant pool for small children.
Cold frame - lay a tyre on its side awsy from direct sun - plant with seedlings. Cover the top with cling film but remember to leave holes on each side for ventilation.
Planter - tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine (egg plants) and peppers can be grown inside tyres which have been laid on the ground. The tyres give wind protection aand the dark rubber helps keep the surrounding soil warm.
If you are strong enough to be able to cut tyres into sections, they can be nailed to the garage wall at the same height as your car bumper to prevent scrapes.
Strips of old tyres can be nailed to ramps and/or stairways to prevent slipping.
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is your ever friendly tire swing. You could also make your kids a tire wall to climb or an obstacle course. Of course these are rather obvious choices so here's some not so obvious choices:
Got a big dog? Put their dog dish inside a small tire and the dog won't be able to drag it around the yard.
Cut in half and hung on a wall they make a hose hanger.
Put a trash can in the center and you have a no tip container for baseball bats and other long sporting equiment.
Stack to make a planter that you will be able to start plants in early because the tires will absorb heat and keep the bed warm or just paint the tire and plant right inside of it.
Mount a tire on the inside of your garage wall for a bumper for that new driver (or the clumsy old driver:) ).
Plant them half way in the ground and you can use them to set up a track for your kids and their bikes or you could line a long drive way and paint them with reflective paint.
By Debra in Colorado
Use As A Base
I have some suggestions for the use of old tires, if this is the proper place to offer them:
My father was a coach and athletic director. He would put a tire on a sand or clean dirt surface, line the bottom with newspaper (to keep the concrete in) fill the tire with concrete and add an upright pole. When dry, and with eye-bolts in the appropriate places, these could be used for tether-ball supports, net supports, etc., and could be easily moved from place to place as needed or into storage. The concrete made them heavy enough to make them stable enough for reasonable use. Adding eyebolts into the wet concrete will provide an attachment for tie-downs. Screwing the eyebolts into something, like a large nut or piece of metal, ahead of time would provide more purchase in the concrete. You could make them even heavier by adding another tire and filling it with concrete. If the tires are of different sizes, just make sure the larger in diameter is on the bottom.
They could also be used as supports for tomatoes, beans, etc.. In case of approaching storms (hurricanes, ice storms, etc.), they could be laid down with their plants still attached and then secured to the ground. They afterward could be stood back up with much less damage than would have otherwise resulted. You could cover them appropriately to add further protection from the approaching danger.
They could be used as pup tent supports: use 2 supports, a clothesline, and a blanket. Voila!
How about a clothesline? To take a hose across, use one support on either side of a driveway with a big hook-screw for the hose to run through.
They could be used to provide support for shade material, like over newly transplanted plants.
They could be used to provide support for a temporary fence, chains, cables, rope, etc..
I'm sure there are many more possibilities and refinements possible: have at it, folks!
I'm trying to find someone who can make one of these planters that are made from a tire. This is a parrot shaped planter and is painted in very cheerful colors. If you do these, or know anyone who does please let me know what you charge. I need one before Christmas. I have a picture of what this looks like and can email it to you.
How safe is it to use old tires as a raised garden? I have tried for many years in my back yard with no success. I have many old tires and was wondering about that. I know I can do flowers but just wondered about a small garden. Thanks for your help.
Patsy from Salem, MO
RE: Planting a Garden in Old Tires
I have seen it done at a garden show in an exhibit for square foot gardening. I have also seen it used for potatoes (in stacked up tractor tires). I have never heard they are not safe, but have heard a lot of warnings against using RR ties. (03/03/2009)
I have found articles on the internet stating that the tires leach toxins into the ground therefore affecting the crop, making it unsafe to consume. Besides considering the opinions on this site, I would google the topic and see what else you find.
I have seen container gardening done using barrels, maybe this would be a safer option providing the barrels haven't been exposed to toxic chemicals. Good luck and be safe. (03/04/2009)
I know this isn't exactly what you asked about, but since you have plenty of tires, why not find out how to cut them up and make dog toys? They are selling these like crazy and my dogs love them. Just another use for the tires :-) (03/04/2009)
Here's a good article for you to read. I'm trying it myself this year. Can't beat the cost of 'em! http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/sanders98.html
The EPA says, "There is no current evidence showing that products containing recycled rubber from scrap tires substantially increases the threat to human health and the environment as compared to the threats associated with conventional products." (http://www.epa.gov/garbage/tires/faq.htm#ques14), but they're talking about ground tires in road beds and their effect on groundwater (though they have a lovely picture of a squash plant growing in a tire right close to this statement.) (03/08/2009)
I would not trust what the EPA says about tires. To use small pieces of old tires for walkways and driveways is fine. But I would never use old tires as planting veggie beds as there are chemicals that leach from tires and will be taken in by the plants.
I have a few tires set up as retaining wall, and want to plant in them. I am getting some bad vibes about toxic stuff. Could I line them with black plastic (can't find the # for it ) or how about old pool liner? However, that might be PVC and that seems to be even worse! What to do, what to do?
Hi Ray. Well, as a matter of fact, I've been frustrated lately that I've not had time to do my veggie gardens as I had in the past. Previously, I'd been in an area with crummy ground, mostly sorta sandy and "dull." I had a bunch of old tires (a friend years past made a business of cutting 'em, turning 'em inside out (would you believe!) and painting them, they came out looking like ceramic pots!)
Anyway, back to my experiences. I just took old tires, put some chicken wire in the bottom, so critters like gophers couldn't enter the planter from below and filled them with a combination of the sandy soil/dirt I had, oak leaf mulch (we had an abundance of oak trees around) and some planting mix. I then filled the tires with seed of anything you could think of and my veggies were fantastic! Peas, beans, corn (yes, corn!), tomatoes, carrots, radishes, lettuce, snow peas, beats, and onions, all wonderful!
I just watered them from time to time, if the soil seemed dry, the tires kept the heat in and soil moist, even though above ground. I never even gave a thought to anything like toxic stuff, and no one ever got sick or touchy-tummy from anything eaten from my garden.
And by the way, I didn't go out and buy new seeds every season. I've often had great success with years-old seeds.
So, my suggestion (who am I to give "advice"?) is: Go for it, Ray, and have fun! (I'll be thinking of you at least until I can get my own above-ground tire-garden started again!) (04/02/2011)