5 fantastic recycling ideas for used tyres

Just because a tyre is too old and worn to use on a car, it doesn’t mean that it’s useful life is over.

Here’s our top five reuses for used tyres.

1. Planters for the garden

Used tyres can be used as instant planters in a garden – either wide and low containers on their own, or stacked up on top of each other to form higher planters. Some people think they’re ideal for things that need earthing up (like potatoes) or forcing (like rhubarb) as you can add and remove layers as needed.

However, other people are reluctant to grow vegetables in old tires since they can leach chemicals used in their manufacture into the soil and into the food.

2. Cold frames

Alternatively, used tyres can be used to make quick and easy cold frames to protect young seedlings. Place a tyre on the ground (so the plants aren’t sat on the cold earth) then place a piece of flat wood or some slats on top of that, and add another tyre to be the walls of the cold frame. Use an old window in a frame or piece of scrap perspex/clear plastic as the roof to let the sun in. For extra insulation/heat retention, fill the lower tyre and the walls of the upper tyre with straw or similar.

3. Entertain the kids – tyre swings, obstacle courses & sandpits

Tyre swings are lots of fun and easy to make – just add a strong branch, rope or chain and a happy child.

If you’re using a well-used tyre, make sure to clean it thoroughly before swinging on it though – to avoid tyre blackeners & the like staining clothing.

Alternatively, use them to make mini obstacle courses for kids in your garden.

Or if you’ve got a giant lorry/tractor tyre, they can be used for sandpits.

4. Trug

Tyres can be turned into handy trugs – low, wide baskets – for carrying produce and weeds around the garden.

The basic idea is to cut the tyre into sections and add handles – but there are a number of how-tos out there if you prefer more details — Marcos’ post on Instructables is very clear and thorough.

5. Make them into rugged sandals – or knee pads

If you’ve made a trug or two, you might have some left over tyre – why not turn the rest into a pair of tough sandals?

Or as Marcus said on our original “how can I reuse or recycled old tyres?” post – make them into protective knee pads for when you’re kneeling in the garden, planting out all the seedlings from your used tyre cold frames ;)

And don’t forget, if you don’t want to reuse them, others might: consider offering them on your local Freecycle/Freegle group, or find out from your local council/tyre merchant how you can dispose of them properly so that they’ll be reused or recycled by someone else.

(Photos by TonyBuser, Steve Winton and krossbow)

Related Categories

5 fantastic reuses, garden

Search for other related items

14 Responses to “5 fantastic recycling ideas for used tyres”

  1. Soraia says:

    In Mozambique, used tyres are recycled into beautiful rugs. You can check some of these works in http://www.maciene.co.mz

  2. Julie says:

    I have used stacked up tyres as a garden retaining wall. I did a row of tyres, filled them with soil, then placed a second row on top, but overlapping (like bricks in a wall) and filled them, continuing in the same way for 4 and 5 levels. I then planted the top tyre with trailing plants to disguise the tyres. It worked really well.
    I have also seen an article about a house made from soil packed tyres, it was in the desert somewhere in America, though there are versions all over the globe, just put tyre house into google.

  3. Tiptheplanet says:

    If you’re into bodybuilding, you can use it in a lot of ways. If it’s huge, you can do tire flipping. If it’s not too big, you can smash it with a sledgehammer which is a popular bodybuilding exercise. I also remember back in high school, our baseball team installed a car tire on a metal pipe. They used it for swinging practice. Just swing the bat and hit it. Watch out for the recoil though.

    Just make sure that it’s not going to accumulate water or else, it’s going to be a breeding ground for mosquito.

  4. The previous owner of our house left a load of tyres in the garden (he was a a fireman and accrued them over the years). We stack them 2 high and fill them with decent soil, then sew in chipped seed potatoes (3 per tyre). Each time new shoots start to show, we put another tyre on the pile and add more soil/ compost, until the tyres are 5 high. Once the potato plants have flowered, we simple remove the tyres to get at the potatoes. You have to be careful though, tyres attract the heat of the sun!

  5. Xandra says:

    In the Philippines, tyres are made into trash bins http://bit.ly/b2mqb7

    An outdoor living room set like this http://bit.ly/9EauTD

    A hammock http://bit.ly/beNazs

  6. urban craft says:

    I like the idea of planting potatoes in the tire stacks, good one!

    You can also create a wormery for composting by stacking tires on top of each other. Stuffing in food and other compostable items in between tires and on top will yield you nice amount of dirt gold easily accessable at the bottom tire. Properly maintained, the tires will also keep worms warm over the winter.


  7. Use them to make soakaways for roof water.
    Dig a hole, line it with geotextile membrane, throw in the tryes to form structure, cover with the membrane and cover over with a minimum of 500mm. soil.

  8. Large tyres can become hay bins for horses.
    Bolt them together and use as many as you like until you reach the correct height.
    The horse cannot hurt itself and the bin is very tough.

  9. The same for cattle troughs as above and they make great pig feeders if you fill the inside of the tyre with concrete – the pig cannot turn it over.

  10. A fantastic use is to use them for fun. Go kart tracks can be padded using old tyres

  11. Large tyres half buried in the ground make great jumps for horses.

  12. Uluska says:

    Make garden stairs.

  13. Uluska says:

    Paint them as giant buttons and create pretty sculptural composition for a garden.

Leave a Reply

Your name
Your email (it will not be published. If you want people to contact you, leave your email address in the message too.)
Your website (if you've got one)