Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Used Tires: Recycled Tire Rubber Furniture, Art & Design

Strong and durable, the rubber used to make tires has many uses long after the tires are no longer fit for the road. Unfortunately, more than 290 million tires are dumped or tossed into landfills each year in North America alone.
We understand that tires are boring. Except for the occasional horror experienced when one bursts or hits a nail, they’re simply an additional expense for your car. It’s amazing then, to see how many uses, both functional and aesthetic, that hard rubber can be bent toward. Here are some of the most innovative and artistic recycled tires you’ve ever seen:

Most shoes have rubber soles, but only the most ecologically minded shoe companies intentionally reuse tire rubber for the bottom of their products. In some countries recycling is a necessity, and tires are salvaged for DIY shoe soles.

At some point in the last couple decades, tire rubber became chic. Tires are now a sought after material that can be used in clothing, accessories; ranging from necklaces, handbags and earrings to bracelets and belts. The durable material looks tough but is quite moldable and durable.
Duffel made from recycle umbrella an tire

Tires are an integral structural ingredient in Earth Ships, the incredibly low impact and environmentally friendly houses that are becoming increasingly popular. Tires are formed into walls and then filled with dirt and sealed in with a stucco-like material. They provide great insulation while reclaiming huge amounts of used rubber.

Tire rubber is durable enough to form usable furniture, and can be surprisingly beautiful. Despite the interesting aesthetic, I can’t imagine these chairs are very comfortable for sitting. They definitely seem to serve a better function as a conversation starter.
 Some furniture sets are made entirely out of tires and inflated tire tubing, creating extremely odd and interesting pieces. Whether the furniture keeps the tire’s original shape, or strips it of all but its most basic materials, tires are always eye-catching.

Some artists are able to turn the dullest materials into objects of real beauty. These decorations manage to take an incredibly dull object and turn it into something both lively and exciting. With a bit of coloring, the tire tread design becomes a pattern to be admired, rather than a feature to be taken for granted.

Tires are proudly displayed on roadsides and in art museums; there are countless examples of finely shredded and shaped tires being turned into pieces of art. Pieces can be abstract and confusing, overwhelmingly large, or simply intricately decorated, but they’re all interesting.

Who would have thought that recycled tire flooring could be so stylish? Swedish company Apokalyps Labotek takes some of the 4 million tires that are disposed of in that country each year and grinds them into a powder, which is then mixed with recycled plastic and formed into flooring.
 You can now purchase commercially fabricated roof shingles made from recycled rubber – or you could go DIY like this ambitious homeowner, who cut strips of tires and arranged them into interesting patterns on his roof.

Korean artist Yong Ho Ji has gone above and beyond all of these innovative re-uses for old tires with a sculptural series that binds strips of used tires together with synthetic resins. His complex works, depicting humans and animals, makes a statement about humanity’s responsibility for nature.

Animal sculptures made out of tire are surprisingly fluid and realistic. The natural texture of tire rubber lends itself to such designs, and can replicate cords of muscle when shaped by a skilled hand.
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