20 Products that Give Recycled Tires a Second Life

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

When it comes to maximizing your return on your junk car, tires can be one of the most valuable parts you can sell or reuse.

No matter how fancy or cheap your tires are, your wheels are going to end up in a salvage yard in one way or another. It’s one of the unfortunate truths of owning a vehicle. Luckily, recycling centers  and private companies across the world have found new ways to salvage and reuse tires. Considering the United States wears out roughly 290 million tires a year, recycling tires is an important industry both economically and environmentally. The numerous uses for tires makes them one of most recycled and re-purposed materials in the country. With each passing year, people seem to find more and more uses for retired wheels.

What Happens to Tires After I Recycle Them?

The answer to this question depends on what the tire is going to be used for. Many of the DIY tire projects found across the Internet use untreated, repurposed tires. This simply means the tires are not chemically-treated or melted down. If you bring your used tires to a salvage yard and they cannot be retreaded or resold, they will be sent to a commercial reprocessing plant, where they will be chemically treated to break down the material so it can be reused. Once the tires have been treated, they are classified as reclaim rubber, and put through a mechanical grinder. The rubber is ground into different sizes, and are then used for various purposes.

Used tires are utilized across a number of industries, including: civil engineering, landscape design, recreational design, and as fuel for manufacturers. According to the EPA, over 110 products are manufactured using materials from used tires.

Here are few products that, in one way or another, are made using recycled rubber:

    1. Shoe soles

      Shoes made with recycled tires.
      Image Courtesy: www.indosole.com

Dozens of eco-minded shoe companies are using tires in their production process. It keeps unwanted tires from sitting in a landfill, and in a few cases, for every pair of shoes sold, another is given to someone in need.

    1. Garden planters

Flower planters made out of recycled tires.
Image Courtesy: www.naturallearning.org

Using old tires for backyard planters is an easy DIY option. All it requires is some paint, a bit of mulch, and some flower seeds to add a little more color and flair to your outdoor spaces.

    1. Playground surfacing materials

      Playground surfacing made out of rubber chips
      Image Courtesy: www.rubberscapes.net

There are many benefits to using scrap tires for playground mulch. One of the most important being it is able to absorb more energy when objects or people fall on it. This comes in quite handy when coupled with clumsy tots.

    1. Mulch replacement

      Mulch substitute made from recycled tires
      Image Courtesy: everlastrubbermulch.com

Landscaping mulch made from tires both insulates soil from extraneous heat and allows for better soil moisture. It can also help with weed prevention because it forms a barrier between weed seeds and the soil.

    1. Railroad ties

      Railroad ties made from recycled tires
      Image Courtesy: www.axionintl.com

Railroad ties composed of recycled tire rubber typically last a lot longer than traditional ties. Because they do not rust, cannot be infested by insects, and do not absorb moisture, a rubberized railroad tie will outlast traditional wooden ties, and are relatively easy to replace and install.

    1. Pulp and paper*

      Pulp and paper plants use tire derived fuel to produce new products.
      Image Courtesy: www.sensidynegasdetection.com

Unfortunately, you can’t actually find pulp or paper made out of tires, but many paper mills and production companies use tire-derived fuel (TDF) to power their plants. TDF is used because it has a high heating value, which considerably larger than wood or coal.

    1. Cement

      Cement plants can use tire derived fuel to power the manufacturing process.
      Image Courtesy: wonderfulengineering.com

Cement kilns can also be powered using TDF, and the process does not require for tires to be pre-shredded. Cement kilns are often built to burn tires whole, and do not require the steel to be removed from the tire.

    1. Patio Furniture

      Recycled tires can be used to create outdoor or patio furniture
      Image Courtesy: designrulz.com

Furniture made from tires is ultra-weatherproof and durable. Creating a set of chairs or lounger from tires keeps the rubber from sitting in a landfill and lets you play with your creative side. The best part? There are hundreds of online tutorials for creating furniture, so the possibilities are endless.

    1. Running Track Material

      Recycled tire pellets can be used to create indoor or outdoor running tracks.
      Image Courtesy: vintagecontractors.com

Like playground mulch, using ground up tires for running tracks reduces impact to the user’s joints. The rubber also helps to keep the track dry, and allows for easy maintenance and cleaning.

    1. Flooring

      Flooring for gyms and athletic facilities can be made using recycle tire rubber
      Image Courtesy: signaturesportflooring.com

Rubber floors aren’t just easier on your joints, they are resistant to scratches, water and mildew resistant, and can be designed to look like wood, granite, or marble.

    1. Jungle Gyms

      Tires can be reused for outdoor recreational facilities and on playgrounds.
      Image Courtesy: playgroundideas.org

Incorporating recycled tires into a jungle gym is an easy way to add some old school charm, without spending a lot. Tires can be suspended like the ones in the image, stacked to form a climbing period, or just laid flat on the ground to create a mini obstacle course.

    1. Gravel substitute

      Image Courtesy: purdue.edu
      Image Courtesy: purdue.edu

Recycled tires that are shredded and made into chips can provide a non-eroding alternative to traditional gravel. Because the tires do not absorb water, they allow for better drainage, and theoretically, will never need to be replaced, since the chips will not decompose.

    1. Sculptures

      Artist Yong Ho Ji creates sculptures using recycled tires. This piece is 'Lion 2' from 2008.
      Image Courtesy: prolifik-one.com

Using reusing tires isn’t just limited to commercial use. Many artists like Yong Ho Ji use recycled tires to create intricate, large scale sculptures like the one above.

    1. Home Insulation

      Recycled tires may be used in adding an extra layer of insulation and sound barrier during home construction.
      Image Courtesy: arch5541.wordpress.com

During home installation or remodeling, incorporating recycled tires can add an extra layer of insulation and a sound barrier. In addition to increasing energy efficiency, tires used in construction projects can add stability to a building.

    1. Rubberized Asphalt

      Rubber pellets may be added into asphalt mixtures to increase pavement life, reduce maintenence needs, and improve resistance to cracking.
      Image Courtesy: cardinalplus.md

Recycled tire pellets may be added into asphalt mixtures to increase pavement life, reduce maintenance needs, and improve resistance to cracking. Adding tire pellets to asphalt mix also helps to better weatherproof a road or walkway.

    1. Swings

      Swings such as this are made by carefully cutting patterns out of a tire, then bolting pieces together.
      Image Courtesy: kotulas.com

Swings like these are made using a recycled tire that is cut into specific shapes, then bolted together. Many craft bloggers have posted these patterns, so like creating furniture, the possibilities are almost endless.

    1. Artificial turf for sports arenas

      Tire grains are added to artificial turf for bouyancy.
      Image Courtesy: tbo.com

Rubber pellets used in sports fields helps to lower the maintenance needed in arenas, and also improve drainage. Unlike natural turf, synthetic turf does not need to rest as long between use, and the amount of work to maintain artificial turf is considerably lower than natural turf.

    1. Handbags

      Handbags such as this one are made using recycled rubber from tires.
      Image Courtesy: uncommongoods.com

Looking for a new way to tote around your stuff without adding more waste to the environment? Many companies sell consumer products like handbags, belts, wallets and more made out of reclaimed bike, tractor, and car tires.

    1. Sub-grade insulation for roads

      Recycled tire rubber can be added to subinsulation for road pavement.
      Image Courtesy: cincinnati.com

Using tire pellets as sub-grade insulation in road allows for drainage beneath the road’s surface. This helps prevent soil below the road from freezing in cold weather, and reduces the amount of excess water beneath the road surface.

    1. A Good Old Fashioned Tire Swing

      Image Courtesy: rushcreekrealty.com
      Image Courtesy: rushcreekrealty.com

There is something nice about this classic. It doesn’t require much: some sturdy rope, a clean tire, and a steady tree or swing set to hang it from. Tie it up and you’re good to go.

Our Salvage Yards Will Recycle Your Tires — And More

Here at Cash Auto Salvage, our business is not solely recycling tires, but salvaging all parts of the junk vehicles we buy. Approximately 80% of a a vehicle is recyclable, so when we buy your junk car, we go to great lengths to salvage and recycle every component possible. We’re proud to be part of a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes to the global economy, and provides jobs for hardworking men and women here at home. Our mission is to provide our customers with timely, quality, and exceptional service. Through our nationwide network of junkyards will buy your unwanted cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans, no matter the make, model, or condition. We aim for same day service and, unlike other junk car companies, we do not charge to tow your vehicle. Selling to our salvage yards is an easy way to bulk up your wallet and free up space on your lawn. Please call us at 855-922-3095 to receive your free, instant quote today.

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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