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Old & recycled tires: Uses & versatility

Last updated 10/14/2022 - Originally published 9/24/2020
Written by SimpleTire

There are hundreds of millions of tires produced on an annual basis. Every year, hundreds of millions of tires are scrapped to be used for a number of projects and as fuel sources. Tires are sold for fuel, and they're also recycled and reused for a variety of projects. In terms of recycled tire products, there are many different recycling categories.

This includes tires that are reused in constructing other tires as well as tires that are being cleaned, cut, and ground for a number of artistic projects, construction endeavors, and a combination of the aforementioned. With a growing market for recycled tire products, it is pleasantly surprising to learn of the many things that incorporate the use of the tires that were once on your car.

What Happens to Old Tires?


The most common use of scrap tires is to generate fuel. They're sold to entities around the world and are burned in many factories for power. While such use isn't necessarily ideal, it does preserve the usage of fossil fuels and keeps tires out of various landfills and scrap yards where they can become home to nesting mosquitoes, rats, and other disease-carrying pests.


Many scrap tires are sold to tire manufacturers in the United States and throughout the world for use in retreading truck and tractor tires. The old tires are melted down, and the belts, plies, and other non-rubber materials are removed. The rubber is reformed into tread patterns and cured through various processes to provide functional treads for tires that still possess their structural integrity. These tires can then be used for thousands of additional miles.

Arts and Toys

Many artists and independent toymakers have begun to take advantage of recycled tires by cleaning them, cutting them, sometimes melting them down, and reusing them for a number of functional uses and artistic structures. The traditional tire swing, while still a popular option, represents basic creativity. Many tires are cut into the shape of animals, space ships, and other fun and functional swing seats and harnesses. Another popular use of recycled tires is turning them into flower planters and pots. They can be used in tire form, and simply filled with soil, or melted, cut and formed into new shapes and designs.

Construction Projects

In addition to being reused, reformed, or melted into retreads or thin sheets of rubber for various products, many scrap tires are ground into fine beads and used in a number of different settings. Over the past several years, the Departments of Transportation (DOT) has incorporated the use of ground tire rubber into the asphalt used in paving roadways and freeways. This creates for a more resilient road surface and helps cut costs on raw goods.

Scrap tire pellets and beads are also used beneath rubber surfaces on playgrounds. These materials have replaced sand in many playground settings, producing a springy ground floor beneath slides and swings. This provides additional safety to children at play.

In addition to being used under playground surfaces, these pieces of ground scrap tire are used under sports fields for sports such as football, soccer, and baseball. Individuals incorporating synthetic grass for lawns will also have old tires just beneath the surface. This allows for a more comfortable playing or walking surface, using materials that are weather-resistant and resilient.

These are just a few examples of the versatility of recycled tires and the recycled tire products that have been developed in recent years.

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