How can I reuse or recycle old used tyres (tires)?

old used car tyresWe’ve had an email from Neil Williams about used car tyres:

I’ve just moved into a new house and when I finally hacked through the nettles at the bottom of the garden, I found a set of old car tyres.

They look like they’ve been there for a good few years so probably aren’t any good for a car now and I know some companies make them into mouse pads and stuff but I was wondering what I can do with them myself.

My dad used to use tyres (AKA tires) as planters for growing veg – a single tyre became an instant raised beds for lettuce or herbs or a few stacked on top of each other became deep bins for potatoes. I guess the stacked ones could also be used as a compost heap too.

Any other suggestions?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Drive more carefully – especially in terms of cornering, accelerating and breaking – and keep your tyres at the advised pressure level to extend their lifespan on your car.
  • Reuse: Use them to make quick raised beds for growing veg, either singly or stacked up on top of each other for growing root veg. A sheet of semi-rigid plastic or wood across the bottom one will suffice as a base if you want to move them around.
  • Recycle: Some recycling companies collect them for shredding – the resulting rubber is then either reprocessed into new items or used for soft landings in children’s play areas.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by dragon_art)

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120 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old used tyres (tires)?”


  1. Bertie says:

    I often see half tyres used as path or plant bed markers in poorer countries and thought that with careful use, they could be used to give an exotic feel or look to a garden.

  2. Philip Mitchell Graham says:

    WANTED: information concerning how to cut up tires. I don’t want to grind it or saw it – creates toxic dust. I want to use heavy duty mechanical shears.

  3. Abbie says:

    my local preschool has a few tyres for the children to roll around the playground, also they have a few tractor tyres to play in.

    i grew potatoes in my old car tyres too!

  4. I usually use them for planters and tire swings for the kids. They enjoy painting them. Thanks for the tips!

  5. 1. Drill holes and cable tie 4 tyres together. Drill holes in the sides and use as a soakwell.

    2. Drill holes and cable tie 5 tyres together. Put round piece of wood on top. Bar table for your man-shed.

    3. Drill holes and cable tie 2 tyres together. Camping toilet seat. Very comfortable too I might add. To make it easier to clean you may want to cut off all but the top sidewalls and bead area.

    4. Cut into strips and use to line the side of your carport so you don’t chip your door paint when you open your car doors.

    5. Loop a rope through the tyre and make a tyre swing with a vertical tyre.

    6. Put D clamps on each side of a tyre and make a tyre swing with a horizontal tyre.

    7. Cut a tyre into 6 pie slices. Tech-screw one to your outside wall and loop your garden hose on it. Give the other 5 away to your friends.

    8. Drink 6 beers. Stand inside tyre. Attempt to do hula-hoop for your mates for a laugh.

  6. Cielia says:

    How about how would one reuse an old tractor tire? One appeared in our alley, and seems to be about 7 foot tall. I have a baby and thought it could be some kind of play thing for when he gets older but… what?

    • will says:

      sand pit

      • heather ackman says:

        Sand pit is perfect, my kid loves playing in mud, and the normal Sand boxes wont let the water drain well, The Tractor tire works WAY better. Had a couple as a kid. Another fun thing was rolling it to the top of the hill climbing inside and going down. It’s a bit destructive, but I survived without any broken bones, couple bruises, but I kept me and my brothers out of my parents hair. And “toughened” us up as some say.

  7. sea_jay says:

    You could fill it with dirt/compost and use as a veggie patch?

    For people with car tyres, these are great for potatoes. First lay and plant one tyre and then, as the plant grows, add subsequent tyres on top to lengthen the root system and increase crop potential.

  8. sea_jay says:

    ignore previous comment stating the already mentioned veggie patch, had only read Cielia’s question above

  9. They can and are usedas analternative fuel in the cement industry. The heat source has to be increadibly hot already. But end of life tyres can and are burnt by big companies such as Lafarge.

  10. Kathleen says:

    How do you cut tires now that they are all steel belted? What tool can be used?

    I know country people used to fashion planters out of them, but that was prior to them being steel belted.

    Help???

    Thank you.

  11. Greg stewart says:

    hi. My brother in law has a lot of truck tyres to get rid of. He lives in Jacobs Well area.. QLD. Due to medical conditions, he is unable to arrange disposable of such tyres. We are talking about 200-300 tyres. Any suggestions?

    • ifeanyi says:

      It is sold here in Nigeria if you can arrange shipment. We cannot really afford brand new so we settle for the old ones.

  12. nicolas beck says:

    I am using tyres to make home accessories.

    http://www.qeratdesign.com

    the website is under construction.

    Best regards and want to hear your ideas soon.

    Nicolas Beck

    • Kathleen says:

      Nicolas–These are stunningly beautiful ! Thank you for sharing. This thinner part of a tire that you use must be inside the tire ? Or ? They are very artistic and sensitive pieces that you create from the ugly old tires.

    • christine walker says:

      hi ; i have car tyres free just want rid of them if you wood like them and can pick them up or arrange pick up you can have them

  13. Charlotte says:

    I’ve heard that growing veggies in tyres is really dangerous due to levels of cadmium and other pollutants in the tyres which seep in to the soil and therefore in to the veg. Has anyone else heard this, or heard any counter-evidence? I really want to use tyres for potato planters in a recycled school garden i’m building, as we have a garage next door and tyres are in great abundance, however i’m, obviously, anxious not to poison the kids!!

  14. To find a huge pile of old car tires was the hardest thing I have done! Why? I hear you ask.
    I am a photographer in the UK and I offer a photographic service called “Trash the Dress”. One of the shots I wanted to do included finding a massive pile of old tires waiting to be collected and recycled. Why? I still hear you ask.
    Well, they made a great setting for a shot with a bride in a white wedding dress! So even a pile of old tires have a great use for someone before they are recycled in the form of a photographic studio.
    I have put a link below so you can see the photograph.
    http://www.jeannetteburton.com/trash-the-dress.html

    Jen

    So for me,

  15. stella says:

    when using tyres for children to play with or in, paint the inside with white paint to discourage spiders (and make it easier to see any that do take up residence). Tractor tyres DO make great sandpits, my kids have had one for years. Make a top from plywood, sealing it to protect it from the weather, to keep cats out.
    Love this site!

  16. Alot of local businesses have recently began using tyres as planters, whilst not the nicest looking plant pots they do a great job supporting larger trees

  17. missyspark says:

    Little gardens. Is it just me, or is everyone spelling Tires with a Y…? Is that how Americans spell tire?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear missyspark,
      Being an American, I can attest to the fact that I know of no one that spells tire with a y, but of course one never knows about the rest of the 350 million spellers out there–and clearly we have a nest of whackos lurking about the 50 states. Mostly I see “lose” for “loose” or “desert” for “dessert” but not via my personal acquaintances, I assure you. I think “tyre” does look a tad Olde English and charming though…more so than an old tire looks.

    • louisa says:

      It’s the British-English spelling.

    • Gordon says:

      hi

      me thinks americans spell with an i, us with a y ???

  18. jenna says:

    make a bangle bracelet

    • Kathleen says:

      Jenna, I once had a pair of leather top sandals, from Central or South America, that used cut out tire tread for the soles. You couldn’t tell unless you looked at the sole, and I must say, they wore like iron! A bangle bracelet would require an extremely obese person to have a wrist that large, but shoe soles are do-able.

  19. cathy says:

    So many ways to reuse tires, one of the most illegally dumped items in the world
    http://www.greenecoservices.com/top-25-ways-to-reuse-tires/

  20. david green says:

    here in upstate NY call em yires….so yes, there are some who use a “y”. Sometimes we roll em down the hill with all the kids chasing em until they fall into the crick. That’s how we get rid of em.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Well, Mr. Green, aren’t you wonderful. Throwing tires in a stream. I think you live up on the hill from me. There are tires thrown in a stream there. We are concerned with the care taking of our little planet, Mr. Green, and aren’t too interested in hearing from those who do not care one iota for the only living, breathing, beautiful little blue planet we have. I’m in upstate NY Mr. Green, and you don’t sound like a New Yorker to me. You sound like an okie.

    • Jacob Yates says:

      Kathleen,

      You need to get over it. I can’t stand people like you talking about saving the environment. If you take longer showers more polar bears aren’t going to die, buying coke does not help save the environment like the theatre commercial tells you, and throwing tires into a creek won’t kill the fish. Where do you get your information?

  22. Leon says:

    Good evening everyone, I would like someone to advise me of any tire supplier that will be willing to supply to South Africa.I have a tyre store selling new and second hand tires but would like to get a referal from overseas who wil be willing to supply new tires to SA at good costs. Your advise will be highly appreciated.

  23. ben says:

    Hi folks, we aussies spell tire as tyre, otherwise it means just plain tired as in yawn…. haha… must be ecause we live down under.

  24. Adriana says:

    Hi there.. For tire (or tyre) swings, what type of paint do you use? Spray? Liquid but latex? Would you recommend a primer coat?

  25. jstone says:

    Never heard another American spelling tires with the letter Y. No one over the age of 5 anyhow.

    I recently saw a tire recycle project that someone stacked two tires, added a wooden top and covered it all with batting and fabric and made a perfect size ottoman for their living room.

  26. Most suppliers of new tyres are able to accept your old ones. Old tyres can be turned back into new tyres and repuposing them this way is by far the best solution.

    Clearly they are other potential uses but I would look at turning them back into new tyres as the most practical solution.

  27. I would like to find a way to chop up old tires into half-inch chunks and line my attic and walls with them. I hear they are great insulation and resist hotter tempuratures. Anyone have a suggestion?

  28. Dee says:

    Spelling the word tyres with a Y is how we here in England spell it ….. and obv our Australian friends ….. we think its weird that everyone else spells it with an “i”, lol, and as the lady said, the word “tire” means to be exhausted *yawn* ;-)))

  29. Anonymous says:

    we used our to plant potatoes in. painted they look great. you can also make them up into more elaborate styles, ie put 5 on the bottom, then 3 on top etc and use them as planters.

  30. geoffrey care says:

    pile them, rather like bricks to make a wall. Packing each one with soil sand etc. You can pu plants between and on top. Good wind breaks in windy places

  31. wendy says:

    i am going to use old tyres (yes i am british and know how to spell) to build wind breaks in my field were i need shelter from the winter winds. I intend to stack them in rows two then three then four deep, fill with soil and plant hedging in to look as natural as possible. we experience wind speeds up to 70 miles per hour, if anyone has advice i would appreciate it. thanks.

  32. Michal Diane Cottrill says:

    If you live in the country in TN you can drop them off at the waste/recycling center. They are shredded and put back into the road, etc. as blacktop. At least I was told this by the men who work at the place we drop tires, etc off at.

  33. Badger M says:

    I have about 200 plus used tyres from my sole business in North Oxfordshire as I fit new within servicing and repairing cars. If any one wishes to have them or some(for free) please contact me. 01608 737756

  34. christine walker says:

    i have used car lyres free if someone want them and can pick them up or can arrange for them to be picked up there are yours i want no money for them just want them goin thanks christine

  35. Uluska says:

    I made stairs in a garden out of whole old tires. Very sturdy and long asting solution, and cost nothing.

  36. Uluska says:

    When building the brick or concrete wall/fence around the yard, insert old tires as windows or strong decorative details.

  37. Denise says:

    I have seen them used in play areas for kids. Also, you can cut them in half, paint the halves and use them like a fence around your property.

  38. SLPW says:

    Another positive comment for using them in childrens adventure playgrounds they can be painted to blend in and children love the climbing adventure that they can offer



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