10 Things to Do With Old Tires to Keep Them Out of the Landfill

There are lots of ways to recycle or upcycle old tires and some things you should never do with them. So if you have old tires, we have solutions.

Published December 12, 2023

We talk about burning rubber but not what you should do after the burnin’ part. All those parking lot donuts can do some serious damage to your tire tread. But when the old tires are ready to come off, what do you do with them? Thankfully, you can do a whole host of fun things with your old tires (and a handful of things you never should).

10 Things to Do With Your Old Tires

Whether they’re thin bicycle tires or massive monster truck ones, they all eventually wear out. And while swapping out your old tires for new ones at the dealership is pretty easy, finding things to do with all the other old tires you might accumulate isn’t as simple. Don’t let the town council come knocking at your door about the piles of old tires in your yard and make good use of them with these interesting ideas.

Retread Worn Out Tires

Retreading isn’t the answer for every type of tire, but the larger ones on vehicles like tractors and dump trucks have enough material left to retread. There are many businesses that will retread truck and off-road tires, so long as you’re willing to pay for them.

Considering how expensive regular car tires are, we can only imagine how costly those giant tires can be.

Turn Them Into a Playground

Old tires are perfect if you’re thinking of setting up a playground in the backyard for your kiddos. You can use them to stop seesaws from hitting the ground, string rope through them for a tire ladder, or slice some in half and bury them in the ground for a fun balance beam feature.

Use Them in Your Workout Routine

woman working out with a tire

When a tire’s tread is gone, it still weighs a ton. Take those heavy tires and mix them into your workout routine. Heft tires back and forth through your garage or take burpees to a new level by jumping in and out of the tire at the end for a hell of a finish.

Set Up a Tire Swing

Back in the day when playgrounds had nearly vertical aluminum slides made to burn your skin off and rusted spring riders that were sure to give you tetanus, a tire swing was a godsend. Whoever said you couldn’t enjoy an old-school favorite in the 2020s?

If you’ve got old-growth trees in your yard with sturdy limbs and some rope, you can string up your tire for a wonderful DIY swing.

Transform Tires Into an Ottoman

You don’t have to leave that tire in your garage to collect dust, thanks to one online crafter’s DIY ottoman project. With some rope, plywood, ottoman legs, screws, glue, and a little elbow grease, you can transform an old tire into a rustic ottoman your family will love.

Create a Makeshift Workbench Using Tires & Plywood

When funds are low and you’re in a pinch, create a workbench out of a plywood sheet and a handful of tires. The more tires you have, the higher your work table will end up. All you’ve got to do is stack the tires up on either end of the plywood and slap it on top.

Turn Old Tires Into Hose Holders

Make the most out of your old tires and save a little cash by cutting them in half, spray painting them a fun color, and setting them up next to your outdoor faucets. There’s no point in giving Pottery Barn any more money for an elaborate terra cotta hose holder when an old tire will do just as well.

Create a Sandbox Out of Old Tires

boy in a tire sandbox

If you haven’t looked recently, then you probably don’t know just how expensive sandboxes are. Now, you could fork over a few hundred dollars to make your kids happy, or you could drag an old tire into the backyard and fill it with sand. A toddler with a big spoon and shovel won’t notice the difference.

Recycle Tires so They Don’t Just Sit

If you’re not in a crafty mood, you can always recycle them. Not every city recycling program takes used tires, so if you’re not exchanging them at a shop for new ones, you’ll need to look into other options in your area.

For example, you can go to Earth911’s online recycling center to see what locations nearby accept old truck tires, bike tires, or automotive tires.

Need to Know

Before you drop off a tire to be recycled, you need to remove the wheel weights and rim.

Donate Old Tires to Charitable Organizations

On top of giving your old tires to recycling centers, you can also donate them to various charities. For example, Wheels for Wishes is a kind of subsidiary of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and all donations made through them benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

3 Things You Should Never Do With Your Old Tires

Without a doubt, there are more things you can do with an old tire than things you can’t. But it’s important to know what not to do so you don’t accidentally cause more harm than good.

Dispose of Them in a Body of Water

Let’s face it. Sometimes, people do things that aren’t exactly great for the environment because they’re convenient. We’ve certainly seen an errant tire or two at the edge of a creek or pond. But you should never dispose of old tires in waterways because the leaching chemicals are toxic to most aquatic life.

Use Them for Planters

One of the most common ways people reuse their old tires is by making planters out of them. However, this is a terrible idea. According to American Groundwater Solutions, the same chemicals that destroy aquatic life can also poison the soil and groundwater lying underneath.

Toss Them Into a Fire Pit/Bonfire

Rubber tires and fire don’t mix well. While they have a high ignition point, when that level is reached, they burn fast and hot. If you’ve got a pile of tires, you’re in serious danger of things spreading to the area in a matter of minutes. Avoid a repeat of the recent California wildfires by promptly removing the old tires on your property. 

What to Do When the Rubber Meets the Road

In most cases, you get to recycle your old tires when you get new ones put on your car. But when your recreation or commercial vehicles’ tires start piling up, it’s time to do something about it. If you’ve got some downtime and the itch for a new project, these ideas will put your tires to good use.

10 Things to Do With Old Tires to Keep Them Out of the Landfill