6 Surprising and Creative Uses For Old Tires

6 Surprising and Creative Uses For Old Tires

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, drivers in the United States generate nearly 300 million old tires each year. I think you would agree that letting such a mountain of resource go to waste would be a bad thing, and since I love using “free stuff” around the retreat, I’ve been brainstorming ideas on how I can put them to use around my place. Here are a few of the ideas I’ve come up with.

6 Creative Ways of Re-purposing Old Tires

1. Bed Gardens

Old tires work great for building cheap raised bed gardens. Aside from my posts on using old tires in the garden, Charles Sanders has an excellent post over at Backwoods Home Magazine, and here is another one by Kurt Saxon.

2. Bulletproof Wall

Old tires work great for building a bulletproof wall – all you have to do is fill each tire with earth as you stack them into a wall. This type of wall will stop anything that you’re likely to face, and it costs very little or nothing if you have a source of free tires and earth.

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Start by filling the tires with dirt and compacting with a sledgehammer. This process is referred to as “pounding the tires.” A 15-inch tire will take nearly 300 lbs of earth and a lot of work and sweat to fill. The wall is built using staggered courses just like a block wall to make all hold together and not fall over without having to use mortar or reinforcing steel.

For a wealth of info about building with tires, I suggest you get a copy of Earthship Volume 1, How to Build Your Own. I would like to have my trailer surrounded by this type of wall, leaving space for the door and windows of course.

3. Boat Gym

Build a “goat gym” if you keep goats and you know how funny and playful they are. Bury a large truck tire perpendicular and halfway into the dirt in your goat lot and watch them jump on, crawl through, headbutt, and rub themselves in all kinds of strange and funny ways.

4. Livestock Feed Buckets

Old mud tires are also great for keeping livestock feed buckets upright. I have a billy-goat that loves to push and paw his feed bucket over, dumping his feed on the ground wasting a large part of it. My solution was to use a 13-inch car tire that fits his bucket snuggly and place his bucket in the center opening of the tire. Problem solved.

5. Composter

You can build a great composter using old big tires. Start by using a jigsaw or sharp knife to cut out both side-walls around the tread of four to six tires that are the same size. Find a level spot, put the first tire down on the ground, and cover the bottom with 4 to 6 inches of sawdust or hay and start adding your composting material and cover with a layer of sawdust, hay, or both.

When the first tire is full, put another one on top and repeat until all the tires are full. Now let it stand for at least two months, now remove the top tire and lay it beside the stack, shovel what was in that tire off the top and into the tire that is now on the ground, add the next tire, and repeat.

After you have finished turning your compost, let it stand for one year or more before adding it to your garden.

6. Bullet Backstop

Bullet Backstop | Surprising Uses for Old Tires

Fill the tires with dirt or sand and stack two layers thick for a great bullet backstop for a home shooting range. See number two above for more details.

Courtesy of The Survivalist Blog


Watch this video below by Grig Stamate for more resourceful ways to re-use old tires:

Between turning them into genius DIY ideas and stuffing them into our landfills as additional waste, the former is a far better option. The last reminder though, tires can excrete toxic chemical in the long run, so don’t use them for growing edible plants.

Got ideas on how to recycle tires? Share them with us in the comments section below!

Up Next: How To Turn A Broken Car Into A Survival Super Market


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 11, 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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