Creative rubber recycling ideas
There’s no need to complain about the spare tire. Old tires always get a second life as flooring, paving stones, sinks and even furniture.
Tires are one of the largest and most problematic sources of waste in the world. But as long as we drive, we will probably need tires.
So, until we can find an alternative to this modern essential, recovering and recycling the tire has significantly reduced our landfill. While tires and other rubber products have long been recycled for sports floors and rubber shoes, they have seldom been used in large quantities – until recently.
Tires recycled today can be found in everything from furniture to floors. See how you can use recycled tires around your home here.
The basics: The major commercial source of natural latex is the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). This tree comes from South America and was the main source of rubber during most of the 19th century. Now Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia account for more than 70 percent of all natural rubber production.
Natural rubber is taken from the trees using a tap and transported to factories. Synthetic rubber is made through a process called petroleum production polymerization.
Rubber paving bricks for more security
Both natural and synthetic rubber goods can be recycled to form new products or to repair damaged ones. Fortunately, recycled rubber uses far less energy than making new rubber, increasing the demand for new products and preventing rubber tree plantations from expanding into fragile ecosystems.
Uses: Rubber flexibility, durable and non-slip surface, works well for floor and tile products. Rubber is also used for garden mulching, landscaping, paving, sinks, and even furniture.
The rubber coffee table in this photo looks good and holds the coffee mug from slipping!
Fine side table in wood look
Pros: Recycled rubber is a hard-working, slip-resistant material, ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. Today’s manufacturing techniques produce recycled rubber in a range of colors and textures, making it an easy fix for any design. Its ability to absorb and dampen noise makes it ideal for children’s playroom floors and roof gardens, too.
The insulating properties of the recycled rubber also make it ideal for landscaping. As a ground cover, it can protect plants from frost. Softer than stone and concrete, it’s a great choice for kid-friendly areas.
Non-slip stairs for every season
The rubber pavers out there have lower embodied energy and absorb force much better than standard concrete versions. They usually contain a very high proportion of recycled rubber and do not need to install glue or other chemicals.
Plain facade with paving tiles made of rubber
Cons: Most of the companies that make and sell mulch from recycled garden tires declare that it is completely non-toxic. However, some environmental groups – such as Environmental Human Health – have concerns about toxin leaching into the soil and preventing essential microbes from decomposing the soil for healthy plant growth.
Use in the garden
Recycled rubber can also smell bad when it’s hot, and certain uses can be costly.
Considerations: The amount of post-consumer recycled material in rubber flooring varies greatly depending on the manufacturer. Some use both recycled and natural rubber, so pay attention to the contents of the labels and look for a high percentage of recycled material that is produced locally.
A subtle kitchen floor covering
Upcycling: If you have a leftover rubber tire, try using it outdoors for a planter or a good old-fashioned tire swing. Of course, it’s not just the tires that are made of rubber. Any old garden rubber boot can be used as a large planter!
Eclectic Flower Vase – Pink Boots
The old garden clogs as flower pots
A colorful recycling playground
Designer rocking chair by Leo Kempf
Simply practical – two coffee tables